Sunday, I read No Impact Man, recycled cover to recycled cover. Of course, afterward I was pumped up--ready to change a few things, the world, whatever. Could I brush with only baking soda? Would I be making a positive impact on the world by drinking only local brews and wines? Instead of feeling awkwardly single and childless, could I instead declare it a conscious move toward simplicity and population control? So many things to consider.
Thursday, the documentary by the same name played at the Portsmouth Music Hall. I had asked my boss whether she wanted to go, not stopping to consider that it might not be her kind of movie. Colin Beaven's project is a little out there, even for residents of New Hampshire.
Before the show, we went to Popovers on the Square for a bite to eat. We discussed work (ridiculously busy this time of year), living situations, light thoughts on where we see ourselves down the road--regarding both work and location. When it was time to head to the Music Hall, I went to the counter to ask for a take-home container and a bag, figuring I didn't have time to store the leftover quesadillas in the car and should make at least an attempt at concealing the food I would be bringing into the theater. And I was proud of myself for eating a reasonable amount of food and deciding to make two meals out of it. Slightly ecological, no?
I was unprepared for what I received. The woman at the counter handed me a clear plastic container in which one could stow a small child and a plastic bag akin to the size Walmart would give you if you bought a lamp. Wow. No paper bag? No cardboard container? Suddenly feeling incredibly shitty for the waste I was creating just to contain my leftovers, I made a self-deprecating remark to my boss as I loaded my plastic, and off we went.
The Music Hall is a fantastic c. 1878 theater with a c. 2045 lounge area. The lounge was redone over the past couple years, and now it's incredibly funky and holds an air as a place to be seen. Locals all know each other, so there is a lot of cheek kissing, and probably ass kissing, and elegant couples mingle with funky artists. Fur and leather. My boss went to the ladies room, and I stood in the lounge watching the social rituals and slightly wishing, as always, that I were part of a larger scene. In that lounge, you are either invisible or known by all.
Folks don't quickly leave the lounge, so the lone ticket taker kept catching my eye, which felt a little strange. But I decided to ignore it. I tossed my gloves, car keys, wallet, phone, and chapstick in my ginormous plastic bag, vowing to use a proper bag more often. My boss returned, and we headed toward the ticket taker. She took my boss's ticket but then stared at my plastic bag. "Is that food?" she asked. I said yes. She pointed to the bar and told me to give the bag to the bartender, who would hold it behind the bar until after the movie. No problem.
I crossed the lounge with my huge plastic bag, a little anxious that the movie was about to begin. I became more anxious as it took painful minutes for the bartender to look my way. When he did, I barely got the question out and he stopped me with a curt response: "No, that's a health violation." Let me just repeat that: It's a health violation for a bartender to have food behind the bar. Sure. I tried to remain sweet. "Really? The woman taking tickets told me to come to you." Now people at the bar were all staring at me and my huge plastic bag full of chicken, cheese, and belongings. He said no and dismissed me by cutting off all eye contact.
The movie was about to begin. I'm a freak about entering theaters once the lights go down. I knew my boss, and a portion of the lounge, was watching me. Bah. I glanced at my boss. She and the ticket taker were watching me. I shrugged, looked around the room, and dipped into the ladies room. I pulled my gloves, car keys, wallet, phone, and chapstick from the gigantic bag. I stuffed the bag and its equally grand plastic container holding perfectly lovely quesadillas and salad into the bathroom trash. Bastards!
I crossed back through the lounge and handed my ticket to the taker. She said, "You could just slip it over here [she pointed to a nook to her left], or in there [she pointed to a coat room to her right]." I smiled and said, "No. All set now, thanks." She persisted. "No, really. If you want to go get it, I can put it aside for you." At this point a line of hipsters stood behind me waiting to get to their seats. My boss was halfway up the staircase. "Yeah, no, I'm not going to go dig through the bathroom trash for it now." I took my ticket stub and started up the stairs. "Oh, the irony!" I exclaimed to my boss. That plastic bag, containing a plastic box the size of Maine and a perfectly good quesadilla dinner will live longer than I will. But I learned my lesson--so much for diets; clearly I should just eat everything on my plate in the future.