Do you mind if I sit there?

The cinema is one of my favourite activities, watching new releases, eager to see what the world has come up with this time, to watch them on a grand scale with surround sound blasting out from mega speakers, the smell of popcorn and sour sweets. The cinema is romantic, used for first dates and through relationships, offering couples an alternative to couch potato-ing  and speech for approximately 120 minutes. The classic glamour of luxurious red velvet seats and tall curtains draping to the floor, that become epic in their unveiling of the big screen. Cinema go-ers are all united in watching the film, it is like a front sitting room only maximised and shared with a bunch of random guests. My recent trip to the cinema has brought to light some potential problems that surround enjoying a film with many strangers.

After the obligatory popcorn buy, then comes the long walk up the narrow corridor to the screens, Its all quite epic, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Walking into the designated screen you are faced with the mountain of stairs from which everyone looks down from, as their attention isn’t fixed to the screen yet their eyes are drawn to the new guest in the room. ‘um hi’ I mutter because it feels like everyone is staring at me, it dawns on me that we are all here to watch the same film, well what if we all hate it? What if someone decides to get up and leave, that would be awkward. What if the stranger sat next to me doesn’t find dramatic, over-exaggerated scenes funny? Will we all be OK  if I rustled my paper popcorn bag, or whispered the plot to my co-cinema go-er? Do you mind if I sit there?

I watch others enter, watching intently as  those sat before me did, the seats start to fill, empty seats are becoming few and far between, the seat to my right is free , I watch a man as he squeezes past, his eyes locked on the target next to me. He sits. Too much aftershave on and smelling like a fragrance store I became a little uneasy. His arm has claimed occupancy of the armrest, where do I put mine? I thought, there is an unwritten rule, I’m sure it exists, that you half share the arm or no-one gets it, in fear of being too rude or possessive. He hadn’t read the unwritten manual.  Nothing I could do apart from fidget, and sigh with my disapproving stare.

At the final moment when the lights were beginning to dull, conversation falls into a silent whisper as the sound starts from the surrounded speakers all voices are drowned and attention is fixed to that big screen in front of us. Together we are watching, all cosy in our large, very large, maximised front room. I’m sat, comfortably, my choice in seating has paid off and I have a good view of the screen, the film starts. A late comer shyly emerges and heads straight for the seat in-front of me, its fine I know it won’t jeopardize my viewing experience, unfortunately this young lady decided to create a sculpture out of her hair, towering in-front of me, creating a crazy silhouette, thanks no really thank you, there is a time and a place for fancy hair, and here ain’t that place. I left the cinema with a crick in my neck and a tired right arm.

The cinema, so romantic with it’s red velvet, warming smells and anticipating costumers. Unfortunately it doesn’t all go so romantically and those sharing the film with you will attempt to disrupt the order, sabotage your view and arm space ,taking the romance vastly away. Do you have any tales from the cinema? Have you sat too close to a noisy popcorn chewer or been unfortunately the late comer, or seen some inappropriate hairstyles, not made for the cinema?

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Like a fish out of water

1…2…3…Jump

My Mother always said I was a water baby. She told me that she would throw me into mother and baby swimming classes and wait to see if I could swim, my little bald baby head would always emerge like a buoyancy aid, it all sounds rather dramatic but its what they did in the 90’s and apparently babies can swim really well,  it comes naturally.

Mother and I are making a regular habit of swimming. Sticking to our schedule for a once a week mother and daughter swim club at our Olympic sized swimming pool just out of town. It is perfect, big and new, making the water look even more driveable and in a location where we won’t bump into anyone we know in an attempt to re-invent ourselves as Olympic hopefuls.

It took a bit of adjusting to the whole swimming business, I used to swim lots as a child having lessons where we would have to swim to the deepest part of the pool and pick a brick up, that brick was no object for me, thanks to mum throwing me in I would always surface pretty quickly. Recently I haven’t had the opportunity to swim so my first week at this new pool was a shock to the system. What is the pool protocol? After the compulsory warm shower we climb down into the pool, the contrast of temperatures hits me, the pool is cool and surprising after that nice warm compulsory shower. I start to sneeze, which is always questionable in the pool, as my body adjusts to the temperature my eyes adjusted to the bright white lights, beaming down lighting up the tempting blue water. After the sneezing outburst I settle into the water, feeling streamlined like a fish I start pretending to be in competition with my neighbours in the next lane, there is even a spectator stand with, spectators staring. This pool couldn’t be better if it tried. This week I even wore goggles, things are looking serious now.

Kids can use the pool, which is a major dilemma especially when one child decides he wants to splash everyone that passes him, the grown-ups of the pool huff and puff at the child’s naivety of the pool protocol.  At least I have my goggles on, I gave him a mean scowl, as much as I could with bug eyed goggles on, regardless he carried on and I took to a new lane.

I was getting used to inhaling an exhaling between strokes and then slowly my goggles began to fill up, is this meant to happen, it says they were water tight? I hadn’t prepared for the effects of them not being water tight and now my eyes stinging with the chlorine, a fuzz appears over them and my vision is impaired. I got to the safety of the side of the pool, my mum was waiting for me I told her of my dilemma whilst removing the dishonest goggles. She stared, looking a little concerned. Trusting the goggles would keep my eyes dry I didn’t take of the remainder of the days black mascara, what a faux pas, what a no –no, I don’t think Olympians ever face this problem. My stained black eyes illuminated by the fluorescent white bright lights.

I’ve always loved swimming, its therapeutic and stress relieving qualities make it a favourite hobby of mine. I like that you don’t have to worry about your hair or clothes, you are submerged, released from any anxieties or worries. I don’t find it strenuous or do I need convincing to swim after a tiring day at work. Just pop my bathing suit on and jump right in. I just need to remember to take my mascara off next time, try not to sneeze and look out for the splashing child, I don’t have any goggles now so I need to be careful.

What is your pool protocol? Do you have to remember to take your eye make-up off? Or do you forget the ‘No Diving’ ‘No Splashing’ rules?