On the last occasion I smuggled popcorn into the cinema it was my daughters birthday and we were going to see Black Panther. It was so good.
Being a woman of slender means I decided to buy a few bags of £1 popcorn and a few bottles of cheap pop to save on the quite large cost of purchasing in the cinema.
I must say, on the occasions I do this (and we are rare cinema goers due to the cost) I always realise as I cram unyielding packets of popcorn into my backpack and force the drinks in the gaps, that this really was a most silly idea akin to trying to fit a huge posh sofa from freecycle into a narrow front door (have also tried on many an occasion) so that I can at least sit on a bit of privilege. And I must have looked like I had a small sofa in my bag. But in my glass half full fervor of penny pinching, cinema profits abuse and spitting in the face of general poverty I chose to go ahead with the sort of heist.
We bought the tickets and queued up and as we approached the ticket checking bit, I realised with a sinking misery that comes with choosing not to be able to afford popcorn, that the guys were actually checking bags. Not sure what for, eek, but was not looking forward to it and suddenly felt like a drug smuggler at an airport. Luckily there were no sniffer dogs. Just a collection of staff gathered to check tickets and bags. And mine felt hot upon my back.
Being in one of my last minute dot com moods I’d not even a morsel of clothing etc to smother over my hoard. Next to my sister who walked beside me, I began to sweat in a sort of horror and tried mumbling to her my predicament and slowing down to avoid the shameful inevitable. She was innocently unreceptive, and seemingly blissfully ignorant of my impending humiliation, perhaps because the execution was advancing and she just wanted a normally behaved sister so chose to ignore the urgent murmuring. Or maybe she was just blissfully unaware; I’m sure it was an accident of coincidence that she markedly drifted apart from me leaving me in a sweaty and panicked anxiety attack a few steps behind. Ha Ha.
Long short, I got to the front. Can I look in your bag please. Said the large authoritative male at the front of the queue. Swarms of people were writhing in my vicinity urging forward to get their tickets checked.
I zipped open my bag slowly and as if I was about to be carted of to a Thai prison and fed rats and urine, I’m sure I recall whispering in begging tones ‘Please….’ ( I mean the film was due to start imminently for starters and lets not mention my dignity which was crumbling in anticipation of being caught red handed). ‘Please’ I said in urgent tone while looking wide eyed into the face of the now state police cinema man who was peering in perplexedly at the many bags of popcorn. And most strangely he just said ‘Thanks’ and waved me through and I in pure relief and utter gratefulness at having my humiliation and metaphorical execution stayed, just felt utterly elated and a bit stupid too for working myself into such a state.
Now today, I took my children to the same cinema to watch The Incredibles 2 (Great movie, but are you supposed to cry loads? oh yeah i forgot, I’m an emotional wreck, and like Mr Incredible, took Mrs Incredible’s success and glory very personally and with little grace or humility).
Anyway of course I did the popcorn trick, but this time it being a Thursday and kids mostly still in school I just thought, Oh they won’t check bags and that must have been for weapons because we are in South East London or because it was a busy Saturday and well, they let me through last time any way.
So I put our illicit goodies in and covered them up with a newspaper, a diary and a magazine (on writing effectively- I must read it god damn it) and a big bottle of water on a slant so that I looked like a newspaper/ academic/Evian drinking type and I even shoved a cardboard coffee cup holder on top for extra disguise.
Same big man. Can I see in your bag. I’ve got this, I thought, lowering the rather heavy rucksack onto the ground and carefully unzipping so as not to dislodge any said items and reveal the popcorn. He looked at my bulging bag of perfectly innocent things strategically placed and then rather annoyingly said, Whats under all that? (Bloody nosy, my husband’s head, I felt like saying). Popcorn, I said quietly and with resigned guilt. Okay, he said, and that was that. Off I swanned, victorious once again.
Now I was mortified during the Incredibles because it occurred to me that I will only ever see New York in cartoons or movies (I’m presuming it was New York) which only got to me as i’m a bit miserable at the minute. But truth is, clearly I don’t get out much. Because I’m blogging about a popcorn experience in Peckham rather then my exciting travels across Planet Earth or green smoothies.
Which probably explains a lot.
However, there it is! One must blog about something, right? And why not, that’s what I say.