Jan 6, 2012

The spot stood out a short distance right of center whenever that space was white or projected with only light color. It was only a few inches oval (the exact size hard to determine given the immensity of the screen) and could’ve resulted from a lousy tear repair, or, more likely, a hunk of now dried grossness slung at the screen by some amped-up moron. Regardless, I first noticed it, at the Port Chester AMC, during “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol,” and while initially annoyed, I mostly forgot about it during the jackhammering 130 minutes of the movie. That was almost three weeks ago…

I remembered the spot only when my wife and I arrived there again for the 10AM show of “Tintin.” I’d seen the movie the previous week in Florida with my brother after no other family members wanted to accompany us (he and I shared a fondness for the Tintin books remembered from our school days at Collegiate School on the upper west side of Manhattan, where the books were perennial favorites in the school library; so much so, in fact, that after numerous occurrences of late returns the books were required to remain in the library where they were doled out from behind the librarian’s desk). Fabulous movie with startling imagery and excellent 3D, I vowed to see it again on the Imax BIG screen, and, reluctantly, my wife acquiesced—this time—to join me.

A handicapped man, Thomas his nametag read, sat in a motorized wheelchair and cheerily greeted us. Pale and thin, with scaly skin and thick glasses, Thomas struggled to tear our tickets, and when reminding us to grab 3D glasses he slurred just enough to suggest challenges beyond his obvious physical ones.

Even before the previews started I noticed it—the damn spot! Christ, three weeks and no one had yet bothered to fix it?! Granted, the thing was impossibly high up and I considered that nothing less than a scaffold would access it; but still, it bothered me like a wart. Okay, the movie was great—even better in Imax, even on second viewing—but every so often the spot revealed itself, and for that split-second, my imagination was jarred back to reality and I entertained thoughts of Steven Spielberg accosting the theatre manager for so outrageously scaring his art (little did I concede how so many of my own sentences masqueraded as art).

Of course, by movies end I’d fully turned myself over to Tintin’s world and my wife’s equal enjoyment left the spot for some other soul to deal with. As we passed Thomas on the way out, he stopped my wife (her magnetic compassion is rarely left unacknowledged) and asked for her to read his printed work schedule for the coming week as the type was small and difficult to read. Together we found his name and I read his hours: 4, full days. I know it’s a cliché to say “someone lit up,” but Thomas’s face glowed and you couldn’t imagine a wider smile—total delight.

There are so many challenges in life, yet most are at best petty. If I’d wanted to confront the manager before seeing Thomas’s smile that inclination was overwhelmed by my gratitude that he—or someone in the organization—would make such a difference in a life dealing with issues most of us can hardly imagine. Leaving the Port Chester AMC my wife said, “We should go to more 10 AM movies.” And I knew what she meant.

Still…they better fix that damn spot!


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