Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tales From the People Aquarium

I work at a movie theater. More than that, because of my prowess and good-looks, I am usually (and by "usually," I mean "almost always") placed in the box office. For all of you non-theater-savvy folks, that's the place where you buy your tickets. It's separated from the rest of the theater, and I often work alone. In fact, the most accurate description I've heard is "people aquarium," indicative of the wide, tall windows that comprise the front half of the room. It's true. But the manager that termed it that had it backward. I'm not the one in the aquarium. Everyone outside is. I'm surrounded by windows, but people rarely see me until they need movie tickets. Sometimes, they don't even see me then.

I sound like a sad, lonely kid. I'm not. The reality is that while I am sometimes lonely and a lot of the employees that work the box office often suffer from several varieties of cabin fever, most of the time the entertainment that I get paid to enjoy is better than the movies I sell tickets for. Working has taught me many important life lessons. Among them are: people are morons, people are funny, and people are morons.

The only thing that links my tiny world with the outside one is a speaker/microphone and the little window at the bottom. The microphone is extremely sensitive. It's odd because it's not assaultingly loud when people are near it, but I can clearly hear conversations taking place halfway across the parking lot. I feel like a spy. Do you know how many arguments, evening plans, and breakups I've eavesdropped on? At this point, I know so much someone should be after me.

On an alarming number of occasions, I thank heaven for the plexiglass barrier between the customers and me. You'd be surprised how intrusive it feels when their hands come too far through the window. Stay on your side people. My side, your side. My side... Your side. See? It's easy.

I wear a nametag. For some reason, the public seems to think this entitles them to call me by my name. I am not your friend, I do not want to be your friend, and I'm pretty sure I don't like you. Don't use my name.

I can't believe I have to explain this one, but the box office is NOT where you order popcorn and drinks. Yes, someone actually did this. (Insert long, drawn out, heavy sigh here.) Honestly? Where am I going to get a large popcorn from, lady? Do you think it will come buzzing out of the ticket-printer? Or am I supposed to get it from the apparently infinite chasm below the counter?

There's one more thing you should know before attempting to go to the movies. We do not sell marine mammals at the movie theater. The word is matinee, not manitee. And it's pronounced mat-in-ay.

I often leave work seriously worried about the world. I don't know how it doesn't collapse in on itself, really. It seems like we ought to stupid-proof the earth the same way we child-proof our homes. But I realize we have. That's why we have movie theaters. Let's all sit in a big room for a while and quietly watch a movie. That's at least an hour and a half that they can't be out there breaking things. Here, have some candy. And I musn't forget the expected greeting (to which the majority of the aforementioned geniuses perfunctorily reply "you too"): Enjoy your movie! :)


  1. Hey Stilettos- I can't believe you learned all this about the human race from working at a movie theater! Just imagine what insight you could glean by working at Wal-Mart:)

  2. Great stuff! This was the best YET! This is Raz's brain... THIS is Raz brain at the MOVIE theatre. As entertaining as it was disturbing!