Sci-Fi Frustration

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“Can you chew your popcorn quietly?”

The ticket to the opening night of the latest “Star Wars” movie was free. Therefore, despite my preference for “Star Trek,” I decided to attend.

Let’s clear something up right now. Star Trek is the superior Sci-Fi franchise, unless you prefer shoot-em-up Sci-Fi to thought provoking, intellectual Sci-Fi. I enjoy Star Wars—don’t get me wrong. I just find Star Trek the more palatable of the two.

There were no parking spaces within a 4.2-mile radius around the theater. It’s as if everyone in my town decided to see this film at 7:00 on a Thursday evening. Everyone, that is, except the individual who gave me his ticket due to a scheduling conflict he had.

After finally finding a parking space in a nearby town and pilgriming to the theater, I was greeted by a line of individuals, all wearing Luke Skywalker costumes.

“No weapons, including lightsabers, are allowed in the theater,” stated the ticket taker. He was serious.

“But they’re fake,” the fake Lukes pleaded.

“No exceptions,” came the response.

The fake Lukes felt noticeably out of place without their trusty lightsabers.

The line for popcorn stretched almost to the parking lot my car was in.

When I finally stumbled into the theater with the fake Lukes, I searched for E6, my seat for the evening.

I quickly realized that Row E was the handicap row in the theater. Surely this can’t be right, I thought to myself. I do not need a handicapped seat. These must be reserved for individuals who need them.

“Excuse me,” I asked the young man in E5. “Is this E6?”

He looked at me like I was interviewing to be the manager of the Office of the Dumbest Questions, and that I was a highly regarded candidate for the position.

“Yeah,” he said.

I took my seat at 6:50 and began chewing my popcorn.

“Hey, man,” said E5. “What time is it?”

“6:52,” I said.

Moments passed.

“What time is it now?” he asked again.

“6:54,” I responded.

Moments passed.

“Is it 7:00 yet?” said E5.

“6:56,” I said.

Watches are pretty cheap these days, I thought to myself.

Finally, the lights dimmed, and we were presented with roughly 400 previews of upcoming films.

By the third preview, an annoyed patron yelled, “Come on, man! We just want to see Kylo Ren!”

Everyone cheered at his outburst. Except me.

For reference, Kylo Ren is the bad guy in the film, akin to a poor man’s Darth Vader.

When the movie finally started, E5 began laughing and clapping with an intensity I’ve never seen in a human being before. He was able to manufacture a sound with his clap that I’d never heard. He cupped his hands and smashed them hard into each other, creating a bullhorn sound, which perfectly matched his sadistic laugh. Together, the laugh clapping made a thunderous sound. People in the row in front of us looked back at me, as if I were the creator of this chaotic sound.

I gave a slight, right-leaning eye roll to lead them to the actual perpetrator.

E5 did this at least 14 times within the film’s first 7 minutes, while I just chewed my popcorn.

“Hey, man,” he said. “Can you chew your popcorn a little quieter? I’m trying to watch the film.”

The audacity of this guy, I thought. Here he is, creating a clap laugh that generates a sound that can be heard in Wichita, Kansas, and he thinks I’m chewing my popcorn too loud. If anyone deserved to be Vulcan nerve-pinched, it was E5.

Usually, my popcorn is devoured immediately upon purchasing it, but I had to wait for action scenes loud enough to mask the crunching of kernels, so as not to offend my seated neighbor.

This kind gesture of mine was not reciprocated by E5, as his clap laughs grew louder with every joke and surprise twist throughout the film.

By the end, I was able to predict his clap laughs with Jedi precision. If you ever find yourself seated next to this guy, may the force be with you.

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