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Let’s go to the Movies
January 31, 2019

The woman pointed to the iPad-looking screen and said, “go ahead and select your seat.” My options were plentiful at the noon showing of The Upside at Cobb Tyrone Luxury 10 Movie theater here at St. Pete. Alone, I punched F5 with my pointer thinking F4 and F6 might remain open.

I’m not going to mention why I went to the movies in the middle of the day in Florida because most of my friends and family were suffering way below zero temperatures yesterday and no one wants to hear me whine about 58 degrees and windy. Anyway, I have much juicer things to whine about.

This is one of those fancy theaters that offers a full bar and menu and trays that hook to the cup holders of the comfy reclining seats so folks can enjoy a full meal deal with their movie. I decided to pass on the food and find my seat only to find a man already perched in F5 with his feet propped up and his burger, fries, and coke all spread out for the duration. I lean over and check the number.

“Do I need to move? he asked.

I hesitated. Something kicked in. I don’t know if it was my Midwestern nice (stealing that term from daughter Jessica) or female dereference or some weakness that I’d rather not admit to, but the words that spilled from my mouth did not match my truth. And we all know what that spells: t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

“Oh no. You’re fine. I’ll just sit over here.” I settled into F3 where I ruined the previews for upcoming attractions with a full featured rumination in my head.

“Why can’t people just follow the rules? Why did he have to sit in my seat? Why doesn’t the theater patrol this better? Why should I have to be the one to police fellow patrons.” And then, “OMG! Debi. Stop it! Get out of your teacher mode. You think of yourself as a free spirit and then you want to run and tattle when a person sits in the wrong seat at the movies. Get over yourself!”

And then what I knew was going to happen, happened. A self-assured woman who was obviously raised by a more assertive woman than I was, walked up and stood in front of me and said, “You’re in my seat.” Everything about her told us both what was about to happen. I was moving out of her rightfully purchased seat. She was not mean but she did not falter.

Embarrassed, I slipped back into my shoes, wadded up the pashmina I had blanketed over my legs and mumbled, “Well, he was in my seat.”

She just waited.

The row completely full, I stepped back to the burger guy and say, “I need my seat.”

Fortunately, The Upside was so engaging I forgot the F5 debacle and laughed all the way through the movie. But today, I reflect. What is it about me that makes me reticent to claim my real estate? Speak my truth? Stake my claim? Was I really just attempting to be nice? Or was I attempting to make myself small and place the comfort of others above my own? To some, this may be much ado about nothing. To me, it’s a lifelong struggle that I mostly like to hide. I choose not to blame the theater or the man and his fries or the self-assured woman from F3. I don’t blame my midwestern upbringing or my mother. I simply vow to take a nice, long look inside the only place I know to find the answer. Me.

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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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