Out of Control

Yesterday started out as a normal, laid-back Friday even tough it was very cold – only 13 degrees. Early in the day JB and I decided to go to a movie and invited a couple to meet us at the theatre at 4:30. Once the plan was set my day was off to a good start and I knew I would get more accomplished with a deadline and something to look forward to.

Now to the back-story. A month ago a movie-going friend strongly recommended that we go see Nebraska; she said it was a great story. I looked through all our local listings and saw no such movie playing anywhere around here. How could that be? Maybe Glenna was confused and gave me the wrong title — but that seemed odd and not very likely. When the Academy Award nominations were announced, Nebraska was nominated for Best Picture! I thought to myself, “maybe they will finally bring that film to our area!”  So it was not surprising when yesterday morning I saw it was playing at the theatre in Ashley Park, our local nice shopping area. (We don’t have shopping centers anymore, so what do you call these outdoor shopping neighborhoods where all the nice stores are?)

Anyway, we planned our day around going to see Nebraska and then getting a bite to eat with our friends afterwards. While not a control freak, I do like to make a plan and then stick with it. Trouble was brewing but I didn’t know it.

We were driving to the theatre when my friend Margaret called to say, “we are already here but they told us at the box office that four of their fourteen theaters are very cold and they are getting many complaints.” Of course the theatre where Nebraska was playing was one of the cold ones. So the four of us stood there and tried to choose another film to see. At this point I should have texted our children for their suggestions or warnings, but I was thinking, “we can do this!” Without knowing much about the movies or reviews, we had to choose between Jack Ryan and Lone Survivor. You guessed it, Lone Survivor won and off we went with our popcorn and drinks. Big mistake! So far we were at the movie but not seeing the film we wanted to see. This was just the beginning….

As we walked into Lone Survivor Margaret and I looked at each other and said, “I’d hate to be in one of the cold theaters if this is supposed to be a warm one!”  Needless to say it was very cold. Chip added, “I guess we’ll just keep our heavy coats on.” And we did. The movie started and we found ourselves suddenly thrust into the middle of violent combat in Afghanistan. Before too long my hands were over my eyes more than in my lap. If you ever wondered what a guy looks like up close and personal after he has been shot numerous times and forced to jump off a cliff to roll down a mountain of rocks, you see it all in great detail in this film. Those Navy Seals are well-trained and amazingly impressive. To know this is a true story made it more difficult to embrace, but I do have a heightened appreciation for our military. I was terribly uptight during what seemed never-ending violence when all of a sudden the screen went black and all was silent. Immediately I said out loud, “Praise the Lord! I needed a break.” We sat in silence for a while and a few other movie goers went to report the problem. Finally a theatre guy came to say there had been a power surge and all the projectors went off. They were working on it and would have it up and going soon. Can you believe it?

Margaret has just gotten an I-phone so while we waited I showed her a few things I enjoy on mine, including the flashlight. Chip asked if we wanted to leave and go on and get our supper but at this point we wanted to find out who was going to be the one to make it out alive! We waited a while longer and just about the time we said among ourselves, “they need to give us a refund,” here the same guy came back with a big roll of complimentary tickets and he gave everybody one!  All of this was reminding me of my childhood trips to the Alamo in downtown Newnan, our one and only picture show when I was growing up. Occasionally the film would break (literally) during the showing of a movie and everyone would holler at the guy running the projector to fix it and somehow he would get it going again. In all the cities where we have lived over the years I don’t remember a movie ever stopping. Yet here I am back in Newnan and the movie stops! Really?

We survived the rest of the movie. Did I mention that about half way in I had to take my gloves out of my purse and put them on? I’m fairly certain that the whole building had no heat. But the saga continued.

Newk’s was our choice for food; it was close-by and we were just hoping it was warm inside. When we arrived they were having trouble with cash registers – said they had a power outage that lasted 45 minutes shortly before we arrived. The power problem must have hit the whole area! Finally we placed our order, chose a booth far away from the doors and began to enjoy our dinner. A few bites into our meal and all the power went off! We sat in the dark eating our food, grateful for the dim glow provided by emergency lighting. Margaret piped up and said, “if those lights go out we can use the flashlights on our phones!” Yay for the I-phone! Chip took the high road, saying, “well, for the moment this has become a romantic dinner!” We all laughed and commented that we would long remember this night of unexpected, out of control events. I think JB was invigorated by all of this because he loves spontaneous and unpredictable happenings!

At the end of the day I was reminded that sometimes things are just going to be out of control.  So much for seeing Nebraska!  We planned ahead but definitely did not see the movie we wanted. We chose a recommended “warm theatre” but almost froze to death! We waited out an unexpected (but somewhat welcomed) intermission to the movie. We received our dinner but suffered another black-out in the restaurant.

Somehow, in the midst of the chaos, we had a great time and made hilarious memories.  Most of our family’s best “stories” tend to happen that way.

Does your family have any crazy stories where everything went wrong but you had fun anyway?

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