Last weekend I went home, and on Friday we went to The Homeplace for dinner and then after we got home, my sisters wanted to go see Batman Begins (pronounced, jokingly, “BATmun Beggins” if you’re a certain friend of mine). We would not be able to make it to the 9:00 showing, so we’d have to go to the 10:15. We were hammering out details when, from the other room, Jamie yelled all indignant, “THANKS so MUCH for going to a movie I can’t go to!” and I was like, whaa?
It seems that Roanoke City has a curfew law prohibiting kids under 16 from being out after midnight, and in order to observe that law, the movie theater would not admit children under 16 to a movie that let out after midnight unless they were with a parent or guardian. Ginny and Sammi had tried to take Jamie to a late movie with them once, when Ginny was 21 or so, and they wouldn’t let Jamie in so everyone had to come home and it was horrible and traumatic and blah.
I didn’t want to go to the movie without Jamie, because I knew she wanted to see it too. Honestly, I could have done without a 10:15 movie altogether, because I am 85 years old and go to bed at like 11 these days, but whatever.
So we’re trying to figure out what to do, because although I’m 25 and should certainly be able to take my 14-year-old sister to a late movie with permission from our parents, I definitely didn’t want to drive all the way out there and get turned away. Someone suggested we call the theater and clarify their policy, and my mom agreed to do it, because I thought it would sound more authoritative coming from her, since she is The Mom.
The Mom couldn’t get through to a live person at the theater, and she listened to the recording twice to clarify that Batman Begins was rated PG-13 (so we wouldn’t have issues with the R rules) and that “the theater complied with Roanoke City curfew laws.” But that wasn’t good enough for her, and she was on a mission at this point. So she called the police department.
After pressing buttons to get to a live person for “general information,” she asked the woman on the other end to explain the curfew law, as we don’t live in Roanoke. The woman (let’s call her Betty) explained the law, and asked if there was anything else she could help with, which is when my mother said,
“Well, I have four daughters, and they are 25, 22, 18, and 14, and I wanted to know if they could take the 14-year-old with them to the Batman movie.”
So Betty’s like, “um, I guess,” like why is this crazy woman asking me for permission for her kids to go to the movies? and meanwhile we’re all cracking our shit up everywhere because my mom said “the Batman movie” like what is that? so then she gets put on hold and gets mad ’cause we can’t stop laughing at her and she goes in the other room and Sammi and I very theatrically tiptoe after her so that we can eavesdrop on her conversation but we continue to make fun of her because we are horrible asshole children and going straight to hell and so she hears us and kind of flaps her hands at us to shut up so then we start laughing at that and it just gets worse and worse as she tries to explain to the next person on the phone exactly what she means. And THEN it starts to sound like she’s trying to bust the theater for not admitting children to the movies when really, all she wants to know is if, when I try to buy a ticket for Jamie, they’re going to give me a hard time.
I should also add that the Campaign of Rage, about which I may write later, began earlier that same day, so my mother was in a very take-no-shit-from-the-man kind of mood.
Eventually, whoever she was talking to at this point assured her that it shouldn’t be a problem for us to take Jamie to the movies with us, and she got off the phone with them. And then Jamie for some reason I can’t remember acted like she might not really want to go after all, and my mom’s like, “Dammit, I called the POLICE about you – YOU ARE GOING TO THE BATMAN MOVIE AND YOU’RE GOING TO LIKE IT!”
And off we went.
We were just sure that the police had called ahead to the theater to be on the lookout for four similar-looking girls and that we’d either get a police escort or we’d get arrested for having a crazy mom, and when we got there, I told Sammi to give me her cash so I could buy my ticket and Jamie’s so it wouldn’t look like she was trying to get Jamie into the movies.
I eyed the older cop who was hanging around outside keeping an eye on those damn youngsters with their skateboards and their rap music and told my sisters that if the theater employees gave me any shit whatsoever about buying Jamie a movie ticket that I’d walk right over to that cop and have a chat with him.
While we were waiting in line, I noticed that the girls running the two lines in front of us were carding every single person who bought a ticket, and the guy, who appeared to be somewhat managerial, was not. And he had a shorter line. So we moved into that line. And I decided to buy Jamie an adult-priced ticket so as not to have to deal with the whole no-student-ID issue and call her out for being younger, and as we approached the window I told her to stand up straight and look mature and I took a deep breath and asked for “two adults for Batman, please.”
And without a question he sold me the tickets. But then we had to get in to the theater.
Strangely, that old cop who’d been leaning on a pillar the entire time we were there actually walked over to the doors and opened them for us as we were going in, and told us to enjoy the movie, which just adds credence to my theory that the cops were on the lookout for us. But we still had to get past the ticket-taker. And we did. And we were home free.
We almost called home to tell Mom we got in okay, but then we didn’t, because we didn’t want anyone to overhear us and think we got away with something and get us kicked out. So we just got our snacks and went in and enjoyed the movie.
And this is what happens when a woman who believes in parking lot cops and mattress tag cops gives birth to four daughters who follow almost all of the rules too.