People watching

Scan10002                                                                      Me and my sister as kids.

As a kid, my dad work a ton of part time jobs. He had to. With six kids, we couldn’t live on just his salary from the Los Angeles Police Department. There are tons of part time jobs out there for off-duty cops. For years, my dad provided weekend security at a number of Mann Theaters on Southern California. One of the benefits of this gig was free movies (and popcorn) for us kids.

In order to give my mom a break, my dad would take a couple of us with him to work for an entire Saturday at the movies. My sister and I would watch back-to-back movies all day. We’d start early in the day and just move from theater to theater as the day progressed. At the start of each show, my dad would bring us a big bucket of popcorn and we’d quietly sit, enthralled by the show and the buttery treat.

Once the credits rolled, it was time to move to the next movie. As we waited for our second, third or even fourth movie of the day to start, we’d people watch. We always sat in one of the side, back rows of the theater. That way, my dad could easily poke his head into the theater and see the tops of our heads … making sure we were still there and not causing problems.

As we watched people file into the movie, we’d play a game. The first person who walk in was my boyfriend, the second was my sisters. The third was mine, the fourth was hers … and so on. If the same person came through the doors three times and fell on the same person each time, then they’d graduate from boyfriend to husband. Each time we spotted our “new mate” we’d double over with laughter. Tall people, short people, skinny ones, wide ones, bald dudes, guys with afros, little old ladies … you name it, they passed by us. And each time we were paired up with someone we thought it was the funniest thing ever. I’m sure those folks thought we were nuts as we giggled uncontrollable.

“That’s your boyfriend,” I’d tease my sister as the burly bike dude walked in with a beard down to his belly button.

“Ha. Well, look at your boyfriend,” she’d snicker, as a woman with Mohawk and 15 tattoos slipped in the theater.

And again. And again. And again. We never tired of this game.

I honestly can’t tell you a single movie we watch while there with my dad. Pretty amazing since we went weekend after weekend for years. But I remember watching my sister laugh so hard her face was beat red and she claimed she was going to pee her pants.

 

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Written as an assignment for Ali Edwards’ class “31 Things” at Big Picture Classes.

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