Mike and I had an interesting movie date the other night. We arrived early at the theatre, ordered our popcorn and beer, reclined in our cushy, reserved seats. We watched the previews while getting a little buzz on, giving ourselves permission to freely judge each coming attraction with a thumb’s up or down, or mouthing the word “rental” to each other in agreement.
I had saved some of the popcorn for the feature presentation. All was perfect in movie land… Until the movie started.
It didn’t take long. About 30 seconds in, Mike and I glanced over at each other with the same thought: the volume on the movie was really low.
“What did she just say?” I whispered to Mike.
“I don’t know,” he responded, “It’s hard to hear.”
I looked around the theatre to see if there were any rumblings of discontent. There was no one getting up or complaining. There was no one shouting, “LOUDER! LOUDER!” But maybe people simply behave more civilized-like at the Superluxe.
“Should I say something?” I asked Mike, in a not very “library” voice.
Mike didn’t respond. I think he was concentrating too hard on the movie dialogue to hear me complain.
“I think I should say something about the volume,” I said to Mike, now in a low shout, and at that moment, I caught the eye of an usher behind me.
“Excuse me sir,” I asked the young usher, “but would it be possible to turn the volume of the movie up a bit?”
“I’m not sure I understand, ma’am,” he responded (Dammit, don’t call me Ma’am!)
“The movie…the volume seems low. Could it be turned up?” Mike asked, backing me up.
“Uh…why?” the usher asked, confused.
“Because it is hard to hear the dialogue. The volume of the movie is very low.” I informed him. He simply looked perplexed. Like no one had ever complained about the volume of a movie.
“Listen to me,” I said. “Just stop and listen to the movie for a sec….” and I paused for effect. “Don’t YOU think the volume is soft?”
He listened respectfully for about half milli-second, then said, “No, actually I don’t think so. I actually think the volume is just fine.”
He was SO wrong. I was sure of it.
“Well,” I said “even so…Is there anything you could do to make the volume of the movie a bit louder?”
And then he went in for the kill…
“No, I can’t…” he said, “but if you guys would like HEARING AIDS, we have plenty in the back. I’d be happy to get them for you.”
And I tell you, If I hadn’t been at a 45 degree angle in a nice, soft chair, I swear I would have kicked that man in the balls.
Instead, we declined his kind offer, ordered another alcoholic beverage, and concentrated on the dialogue like they were going to test us on it.
Walking out of the theatre, we passed the cart with all the hearing aids and I had a little laugh, and then sobered at my second thought… what if this was just like the year I turned 50, when I was absolutely sure that the lighting in every restaurant was bad because I could never read the menu.
I emailed my friend who was also at that movie, who confirmed that, indeed, she and her husband also thought the movie volume was low. But then again, she admitted to not being able to hear much of the dialogue at many movies…so that wasn’t exactly overwhelming evidence.
So we did what we had to do. The next night, we went to another movie, in a different movie theatre. And guess what? The volume was just fine (though the age of the audience might have warranted a higher decibel level).
I felt redeemed. We were not hard of hearing. It was not the reading glasses syndrome after all.
About a half hour into our second movie, I looked over at Mike. Despite the volume, he was fast asleep. Too bad no one offered us a pillow and blankie. That, we might have happily accepted.