Popcorn in the Cinema
Cinema Foyer. The scent of spun sugar and well trodden carpet permeates the claustrophobic space. Step up to the front of the queue. Reluctantly, you purchase your extortionately expensive tickets for the film whose name you have trouble recalling under pressure. You wait for the question that will ensure your dignity remains intact:
“Can I get you anything else?”
A pretence at unexpected consideration follows, littered with the customary ‘ummmms’ and ‘aaaaahs’ as you inspect the golden treasure that teases you through the sticky-hand glass. Refusal is out of the question. An affirmative nod stalls the usually adolescent attendant as you peruse the prices, furtively comparing them with the size of the paper bags.
A hushed deliberation between you and your guilty looking friend ensues. The debate is always the same. Medium or large? The large is only 30p more expensive, it’s ten times bigger than the medium, we don’t have to eat it all, popcorn really isn’t that bad for you, it’s like having a bowl of cornflakes…
“Okay, yes, we’ll have the (ahem) large popcorn please. To share. Obviously.”
The next part of the popcorn buying process can be quick-fire reply easy or compromisingly painful. This is entirely dependent on whom you have bestowed the honour of receiving the free counterpart of your precious ‘Orange Wednesday 241′ code. If life were fair, your friend would concede willingly to your decision to live on the wild side by combining sweet and savoury. Life, however, is not fair; a mantra drilled into you as a kid as a last ditch attempt to curtail a supermarket tantrum on the ‘I want one of those’ aisles.
“Sweet or salt?”
A jarring chorus delivered in unison cries: “SWALT!”
Raised eyebrows. The obligatory act of martyrdom fills the next minute or ten, then follows the breakthrough that gives compromise the cold shoulder.
“Make that two large popcorns, one salt, one sweet.”
You smugly decline the offer of the Coca-Cola that’s twice the size of your head; two more modest bottles of sugary fizz snuggle stealthily beside crumpled receipts and a phone that claims to be more intellectually advanced than Einstein.
Two tickets balance precariously on the yellow mountain and so begins the impossible task of surviving the journey into the womb-like depths of ‘Screen 3′ without allowing any bids for freedom or suicide attempts to take place. Those lucky or unlucky enough to escape digestion, jump ship and land safely before being stamped into gold dust.
Muscles melt into velvet darkness. A firm hand cuddles the bundle of golden crunch protectively to your chest, perching innocently on your lap like a happy child.
The first chosen few are scooped hurriedly into sweaty palms, the incongruent corners of each morsel hugging the other to form an edible jigsaw puzzle. Their siblings, nestled safely at the bottom of the bag, tremble in anticipation of their fate as appetites fluctuate and flounder.
Tastebuds delight at the miscreant piece of corn that dares individuality by dressing itself in a coat of clashing sugar or salt. Some take it too far and, having enjoyed the warmth of the oven for too long, sport an audacious black whose bitter aftertaste assumes residence at the back of your tongue.
Etiquette dictates the cessation of crunching amid the silent pauses between advertisements. Yes, that’s right, even if your mouth is full to bursting, your jaw locked around the gradually disintegrating corn and that bold speck lodged in your windpipe is threatening an embarrassing eruption of coughs. A collective inhale of breath lasts an eternity until earbusrting sound engulfs the night and stifles unappetising noises.
Before the opening scenes tumble into your field of vision, your half empty or full (delete as appropriate) bag has been demoted to the gummy floor and your tummy is grumbling in admonishment.
Good film. Should have got the small popcorn.
Do yourself a favour. Next time, just stay at home.