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Thursday, May 16, 2013

The day I went to the movies with my parents by myself

You know how sometimes you decide to do something and then halfway through you’re like “I’ve made a huge mistake”? Like when you stood in line for the Mayan Mindbender at Astroworld, maybe? Or the time you were like “I think I’ll buy a Limp Bizkit album that isn’t Three Dollar Bill Y’all”? Or when you decided to watch Old Yeller all the way through?

“There’s probably no way he’s going to shoot Old Yeller. Oh wait. He IS going to shoot Old Yeller? Fuck you, Walt Disney. And while I’m at it, fuck you for Lion King, too. And also Marley and Me and Bambi.”
So that exact same thing happened to me when I was in my early 20s and told my mom and dad I would go to the movies with them by myself. Now. I love my parents very much. And I’m like 99.9 percent sure they love me. But fifteen minutes into the actual movie theater experience, I was sort of praying for a tornado or a velociraptor attack or something as equally devastating that would somehow force us to leave, or at least divert attention away from the unmitigated disaster that was unfolding. Ok. Maybe “unmitigated disaster” is a little dramatic. Oh wait. No it isn’t.

“So… this is awkward…”
So we’ve paid for our tickets. We’re walking towards our theater. We walk past the concession stand and I want a drink because I’m not a communist and this is a movie theater and you’re supposed to buy a six-gallon bucket of Diet Coke at the movie theater unless you have posters of Joseph Stalin in your bedroom and listen to Mikhail Gorbachev speeches to put you to sleep at night. Or if you listen to Nirvana. (I know. I’m going to hear about that one. Let’s get this out of the way, guys: Nirvana was extremely overrated. Yes I am in love with Dave Grohl and I think he’s very talented and he won’t return my calls. Nirvana was still extremely overrated. Move on.) Anyway. So we’re walking past the concession stand and I ask my mom and dad if they want anything.
And here is where I will interrupt my own story to give you some advice. If someone asks you if you want something from the concession stand, and the person offering is round in shape, and that round person is also extremely shy, either do NOT order more than a drink, or make SURE that if you order something that isn’t a drink, you also order a drink. Because no fat person in the history of fat people wants to be standing at a concession stand ordering one trough of popcorn, two packages of junior mints, a hotdog, an order of nachos and one motherfucking drink. Drinks, my skinny friends, indicate the number of people in your party. And if I order all of that and only one motherfucking drink, one would assume that, yes, in fact, not only is all of that for me, but all of that is for me and I am by myself. Immediately, everyone in a twenty-foot radius will picture me sitting in the uppermost corner of the top row of the theater alone, watching Runaway Bride and crying into my popcorn trough while I try to figure out how to put Junior Mints into an IV and snort my diet coke. (Yes. Runaway Bride is more than a decade old. No. I could not think of a movie more pathetic than Runaway Bride.) So, to avoid this entire situation, the round person ordering $140 worth of food and one drink will feel obligated to indicate that there are other people involved in the order when they are talking to the cashier. Here are some of the things one might say to let the concession stand worker know that no, all of this is not in fact for you (I am doing this for the benefit of men and thin women, who, I am 500 percent sure, are two demographics who have never in the history of movie theaters done this):
  • “I can’t remember if she wants butter.”
  • “He wants easy ice with that drink.”
  • “Did my sister want Junior Mints or Sour Patch Kids…” 
  • “This isn’t all for me.”

“Sure it isn’t all for you. Get out of here before Sir Mixalot sees you and we have to escort him out again.”

Saying any of these things is totally unnecessary. And I guarantee that precisely zero percent of thin people do this. And here’s why. Because if you, my thin little angels, carry a giant tray of concession stand material to a theater with one drink, people think “I wonder why her friends didn’t help her carry all of that.” If I carry it, people immediately think “Oh Jesus Christ, get it together.”
Anyway. Keep that in mind when your fat friend asks you if you would like anything from the concession stand, you inconsiderate jerks.
Back to the story. So my parents, who have been made aware of the rules of concession stand ordering through a round person, asked me to get some popcorn and drinks for everyone while they went and found us seats.
Here’s another secret. Even if I’m ordering three drinks for three people, I do not want to stand in front of a stranger and order three wheel barrows of popcorn and three buckets of soda. I just don’t. Chances are, no one even notices. If they notice, they probably don’t care. But in my head, they’re looking at me and thinking “Holy Christ are there THREE of them?! How are they going to fit in the seats?! She’d better get extra butter so she can squeeze in between the arm rests!” And while I can sit at a computer and say things like “Oh, yeah? Well go fuck yourself, Holly High Horse,” in-person Jennie is significantly more reserved. (Unless I’m drunk. But we’ll save that for another entry.)
What I really want to drive home, in case you haven’t noticed, is that while I am normally a confident, secure, elated-to-be-alive person, sometimes I suffer from bouts of crippling weight-related insanity. Remember that. It’s going to be important later.
So I’m standing in line under lights that are approximately 5,800 degrees Kelvin (oh, hi, Science nerds. Yes that IS the temperature of the surface of the sun), and I’m trying to work myself up to order twenty pounds of popcorn and six gallons of soda. And at this point I’m hot and nervous. And the 10-year-old behind the counter asks what I want. And I tell him. And he can’t hear me. So he screams “WHAT?!” And I tell him again. And he screams “WHAT?!” again. And now other people are looking. So I tell him again, very slowly and he MOTHERFUCKING REPEATS THE ORDER BACK TO ME. Why am I so upset that he did this? Because he did not do it at a normal level. He repeated it back to me at the exact same decibel level as a tornado siren. Aaaaand great. Now everyone knows I’m fat. And they probably think I ordered two extra drinks to trick people into believing I wasn’t by myself. When I get nervous I get hot and my face gets red. Then my face gets sweaty. This is important later.
So now I’m trying to balance this tray of impossible material as discreetly as I can and carry it back to the theater. Except instead of carrying it discreetly, I’m carrying it a lot like a motherfucking circus bear on a ball, but with less training and grace and more popcorn and diet soda.

It was almost exactly like this.
Once I finally make it back to the almost-full, nearly dark theater, I have to find my parents. Which, as it turns out, isn’t very difficult. The movie hasn’t started, but it’s still pretty dark. Not that it matters. My mom sees me. And she is whisper-screaming “JEN! JEN! OVER HERE.” My father, whose arms are approximately seven feet long each, has stood up and is waving them around like weeping willow  branches. They are almost dead-center in an almost-full row. Did I mention that another thing round people hate is having to squeeze by people in rows? Mostly because I don’t want them to see me coming and think “Oh jeez. Here we go.”
I start walking up the stairs. My mom whisper screams at me again, but now it is a little more loud and panicky.
“NO! DON’T YOU SEE ALL THESE PEOPLE?! YOU’LL NEVER MAKE IT!” As though I were trying to cross the Atlantic ocean in a kayak. I ignore her, which is my fault. I know how this is going to turn out. “JEN! GO THE OTHER WAY! YOU ARE NEVER GOING TO MAKE IT PAST ALL THESE PEOPLE! BABY! GO THE OTHER WAY! THERE’S ALL THESE PEOPLE! YOU’LL NEVER MAKE IT!”
I know my mom. And what she meant by that is, “you could trip and fall because you are a little clumsy and I don’t want you to get hurt.” The theater, however, heard “JESUS CHRIST IT IS GOING TO BE LIKE THAT BOULDER CAREENING TOWARDS INDIANA JONES IF YOU GO THIS WAY.”
I know that there is no way the whisper screaming is going to stop if I continue to walk the way I’m going, even though I’m now halfway up the stairs carrying all of the popcorn in the theater, and even if I go the other way, they’re still in the middle of a nearly-full row. So I walk down the stairs with my wheelbarrows of popcorn and soda. Remember how I said that my face gets hot and then red and then sweaty when I’m nervous?
Well now my face is even more red. And I’m even more nervous. So my face is even more hot. And my forehead is now sweaty. “THAT’S BETTER BABY,” my mom whisper screams at me. Mostly because she’s trying to get me back for telling her that I wanted to be Jenna of the Jungle when I was little.
So I make it up the stairs. And I apologize to the nine million people whose feet I am now stepping on as I’m trying to make my way to my parents. And as I get there my dad takes his hands that are bigger than ping pong paddles and is trying to relieve me of my tray of gluttony. But I have everything just so, and I am fully aware that if anything moves, everybody in the row in front of us is going to be angry and covered in popcorn.
“Here let me help you.”
“I’ve got it.”
“Just let me help you.”
“Don’t move anything I’ve got it.”
“Just let me take it so you can sit down”
“Dad. I’ve got it.”
“Honey just let me…”
So now the entire theater knows that not only am I far too round to ever think about crossing a row of people (I mean, my own mother thinks I’ll never make it), now they think that I am also a giant a-hole for not accepting my father’s help.
I sink into my seat. I hand over the popcorn and drinks. I am flustered and nervous and my forehead is sweaty and I just want the lights to go off.
And then my mother sees my face and immediately goes into mother-bear-protective mode.
I am not exactly sure at this point why she is whisper screaming. I am now considerably closer. She can talk at a normal whisper. Maybe she is still whisper screaming because now she is so incensed that something could be wrong with me and she feels that someone else is responsible. I’m not sure. I am sure, however, that she is not carrying out this conversation at a normal whisper level.
“Nothing is wrong.”
“Nothing, Mom.”
“Oh Jesus Christ no one said anything to me. I’m 24. I’m fine.”
I briefly considered telling her that they said I would “never make it” across a row of people. But it would have done no good.
“Mom. No one said anything. I am fine.”
And then, all of a sudden, my mom is not even whisper screaming anymore. She is just flat out screaming-screaming.
And then silence from me.
And then:
And several people laughed uncontrollably.
And that is the last time I went to the movies with both of my parents by myself.


  1. OMG. Laughing so hard. And I'm so glad to hear that other humans acknowledge that Nirvana is overrated.

    1. Anne. They are probay the most overrated band of the 90s. I mean. Why is this not obvious to everyone else?!

    2. That's what you took away from this article?

  2. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes. I am patiently waiting for your book. :-)

  3. Your misfortune was funny yet I think you were just too worried about what other people thought about you. I do enjoy your writing style.

  4. Genius.
    -Megan the Great

  5. Jennie, I laughed so hard I cried...this is by far my favorite of your blog entries! You are hysterical!

    P.S. I hate Nirvana...HOLLA!