Midnight in New York

The movie theatre was in the middle of the block, and the line to get in already stretched to the corner. It was forty minutes before the movie began. We had our tickets already — the early show was already sold out by the time we showed up, so we had bought tickets for the seven o’clock — but we figured that if we wanted to get seats together, we had better line up with all the others. Pretty soon, the line was twice as long.

Someone walking by to get to the end of the line said, “All these people must’ve started seeing Woody Allen films when they were in college and here they all are.” But several people had brought children and teenagers, so that wasn’t entirely true. Someone else said that there are three hundred seats in this theatre, but usually only a couple dozen are filled. Not tonight, though. A man standing behind us talked knowledgeably and at length about other Woody Allen films: “Remember the scene where they’re standing in line to see the movie in ‘Annie Hall’? … Then Marshall McLuhan walks up, and says … And Woody Allen looks out at the camera and says …” A woman said, “I can’t remember the last time I stood in line on the first night of a movie.” The knowledgeable man said, “It already opened in New York and L.A. This is just opening night for the Bay area. But at least it still hasn’t opened in Pittsburgh.”

At last the line started moving. We found two seats together, at the very back, with an aisle seat for my very long legs. A couple, maybe in their late twenties or early thirties, asked if the seats beside us were open, and we said yes. He went off to get something or other, and she said to us, “Do you think we’ll be able to see back here?” “It’s a small theater,” said Carol. “Those must be the last two seats left together,” I said. “Well, it’s much better to sit together,” said the woman. They came and went a couple of times, and on the last time in, he murmured an apology, and she said, “It’s our first movie together.”

I won’t tell you anything about the movie; anything I could tell you would spoil it. Except I can tell you that although the movie claims to be about Paris, it’s really about New York, like all of Woody Allen’s movies; everyone speaks with a New York rhythm, except the Parisians of course, but they might just be tourists. Come to think of it, many of the people in the movie theatre sounded like they came from New York — not the Bronx or Staten Island, mind you, but Manhattan.

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