Friday, October 15, 2010

Movie Munching Madness

Dear Grace:

I was at a movie matinee yesterday and the person in the row in front of me brought in a full lunch--and it stunk! Throughout my viewing of The Social Network, I smelled a greasy burger with onions and french fries, and heard loud chewing and slurping. It totally ruined my enjoyment of the film. I moved farther away from the eater, but we were in a small theater and I could still smell (and hear) the entire repast. What do you recommend in such a situation?

Grace Says:
Wasn't The Social Network great? But even the brilliant Aaron Sorkin's screenplay couldn't salvage your cinematic adventure with this horror show. I see two options in this case:

1. Cover the smell. One of the 'don't leave home without it' items in my handbag is anti-bacterial gel (or wipes). It generally emits a relatively pleasant scent--better at least, than the odor pervading the theater from your neighbor's pastrami sandwich, say. Take the gel or wipe and hold it in the general vicinity of your nose. This will mask the food smell, and hopefully get you to the credits without nausea.

2. Tattle. It is possible that the theatre has a policy against bringing in food from outside. Incidentally, I disagree with this policy and often violate it--but not with burgers and fries. I am repulsed by the portions, selections, and prices of most movie concession stands, so I have been known to smuggle in for my kids small bags of homemade popcorn, juice boxes, lollipops and gum. You will notice that none of these items emits an offensive smell and are a far cry from a full fried meal.

2a. If and when you tattle, you may want to request a refund or voucher to see the movie another time. This is not ideal, of course--you may have arranged your work schedule, babysitter, or other logistics for this particular day, and the movie may be nearing the end of its run. But it beats repulsion.

For those of you who choose or are forced to dine in public places not specifically designed for gustation--airplanes, the workplace (offices, shops, salons, etc.), in carpools--be mindful of your selections. No one wants to sit on a plane next to a sausage sandwich, or have a haircut amid the aroma of pickled herring. If you must consume your repast in such a place, think about the fumes--a turkey sandwich, non-whiffy cheese and fruit, maybe some yogurt and granola won't asphyxiate anyone. That should be your goal.

No comments: