So the movie at a packed Green Valley Ranch theater is about to start when three elderly ladies come in, looking for last-minute seats together. They ask the 50-year-old broad behind us to slide over, please, so that they can have at least two seats together, and put their third in the one seat available in our row. The broad, who earns this tag right here, says, “No.”
“Please?” says Mabel, who is 80 and has popcorn.
“No. You got here late. Shhh!”
Mabel and her compadres whisper to each other, Where will we sit? and when they come up with no other solution, Mabel says, “Please slide over so we can sit down.”
“No! We got here on time, and you’re rude for coming late. Shhh!”
I confess to missing some of the ensuing skirmish, as I’m trying to focus on the opening scenes in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a movie about aging.
Somehow, the broad and her friend finally do slide over, reluctantly and with admonishments, and Mabel and one friend sit down. But the bickering continues even as the four ladies sit shoulder to shoulder to shoulder to shoulder.
“Well, you are a real peach!” Mabel spits/whispers/curses at the broad.
“Well, you are a real peach, too!” the broad says, loudly. So loudly I can’t hear the part about how the baby who was born an old man came to be.
More skirmish, louder insults, and finally, the broad yells, “Let’s go!” to her friend. Her friend doesn’t want to go, but the proclamation has been made, and the broad takes her bag of popcorn and side-steps down the aisle past Mabel’s friend, and then, as she passes Mabel, the broad stomps on the 80-year-old lady’s foot.
“AAAAAOW!” screams Mabel. “She stepped on my foot! She did that on purpose!”
The broad and her amiga are but silhouettes at the door, leaving without seeing the timeless tale about life and death and the beauty of it all, when I turn to look. But Mabel is crying. As the movie plays on, and people learn to embrace the little old man who is a child, the old lady is crying, quite audibly, in the fifth row of Green Valley Ranch’s Theater No. 10, at 2:30 on a Saturday.