Wednesday, July 18, 2007

H.arr.y P.otte.r and the Wheelchair Accessible Seats

Mama loves H.arr.y P.otte.r. Loves him. Before Alzheimer's, she used to be a big reader. Since... well, it's a little harder for her to follow. With "adult" literature, she has a tendency to be stuck on a page. With "juvenile" books, she finds them... too childish. Not for her.

But H.arr.y P.otter, that's our Goldilocks book. Just right. I got the first last year (and in Spanish, so it'd be easier for her) and she flew threw it. For days, all she could talk about was H.arry. And occasionally Ron. ("He's Harry's friend," she would explain to me, over and over again. "Really?").

Her love of one book necessitated getting all the other books available. And to say that she loved them all is an understatement. They fell to pieces from too much use. She would carry at least one book with her at all times. She would read half of book 2, then switch to book 5, then start on book 3. I have no idea how (or if) she kept track of it. I'll confess; I've never read the books (and only seen a few of the movies).

Of course we started her on the movies. And Mama loves those, too. When Ron is on screen, she points to him and calls HE'S HARRY'S FRIEND! She waves to Harry on the television and calls out HELLO. I truly think she's just excited to make the connection. Nonetheless, I vowed to never take her to see H.arr.y in a movie theatre.

Then came the H.arr.y P.otte.r and the 0rder of the P.hoeni.x movie.

Mama saw the ad on television, and it stuck with her. A new H.arry movie is coming, Nica. Can we see it? Can we see it today? I heard this for weeks. It's not coming for months, I told her, hoping to buy time until the DVD came out. But then Mama got crafty. She wrote down the date she saw on the ad and asked me how soon it was. As her birthday was around this time, I was stuck.

Okay, I acquiesced. We can go this weekend.

So Saturday the 14th rolls around, and I lie to my family. I boldly LIE to them so we will get to the theatre a full 30 minutes before the movie starts. And we pick a show in the mid afternoon, because I'm hoping the theatre will be empty and we can just toll into the wheelchair accessible seats with no issue.

Now, two things, before I continue. One is that Mama does not need a wheelchair, she can walk, but she walks very slooooowly. So most of the time I take her out to interface with the public, we put her in the wheelchair. (It's really REALLY handy if I need to get her to a bathroom quickly). Two is about wheelchair accessible seats.

You know those seats in the middle of the movie theatre? There's, like, a group of three together? And all that space around them? And then maybe two or three seats the right and left, and those have space around them as well?

THOSE are the wheelchair accessible seats.

Anyway, I roll Mama in to the theatre (30 minutes before the show starts) and I'm happy. There are maybe 9 people in a theatre that seats 90. I should be good.

Except that the wheelchair accessible seats are taken.

At first, I think, I'll get the management and avoid a confrontation. But then, I think: there are DOZENS of other seats available. SURELY when I POLITELY ask the ABLE BODIED PEOPLE seated in the WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE SEATING to move to one of the MANY other seats available so the ELDERLY INFIRM WOMAN in a WHEELCHAIR can sit, they'll graciously get up and go.

Right?

Yeah. Not exactly.

The seats are taken by a fella in his late forties/early fifties and two tween-teen girls.

I ask, politely, that they move, pointing that the row above them (and below) are available.

"Why should *I* move?" the man asks, dumbfounded.

You're in the WHEELCHAIR accessible seats, I explain. Again. I'm here with a woman in a WHEELCHAIR.

"Well, she can stay there." He gestures to the space to the right of them.

Yes, well, she'd like to sit on a MOVIE SEAT, I continue.

"Well, that chair over there is available." He points to a lone Wheelchair accessible seat of to the left.

Um, I'm with her and would like to sit WITH HER.

"Well, how many people are in your party?" (I don't know what bearing that had on it, but he asked. The theatre only had the three seats that he was sitting in together and with handicap accessible seating).

There's three, I reply, looking at the man and (I assume) his daughters in the three seats.

That was all the girls needed. They had jumped up shortly after I started this inane conversation and had been whispering "CAN'T WE JUST MOVE" to the Dad throughout. I don't know whether to say it was because someone (not this guy) had imbued them with a sense of decency and fairness, or if it was there not wanting to be in a public confrontation/conversation. At this point, they just started moving into new seats.

He followed a moment after. I was shaking. SHAKING. I mean, what the hell? You really need an explanation after the she's in a wheelchair and you're NOT observation? Really?

How was your weekend? (PS -- when Ron came on, she tapped me on the shoulder. What, Mama? I ask. That's Harry's friend, she says.)

Really.

6 comments:

hope548 said...

What an unbelievable ass! Did you enjoy the movie?

The books are really quite good. I had absolutely no interest in the books or movies at first, but my husband decided to read them, so I thought I'd check it out. I was instantly hooked and I can't wait for book 7 next week! Yep, I'm one of those now!

Heather said...

I just don't understand people.

I love Harry Potter. I fell in love with him because my BFF did and convinced me to read them.

BigP liked the movies so I convinced him to read them.

The other day he says to me, "Who gets to read book 7 first?"

Since I'm the one going to buy it, um, me. Unless you want to pay for two copies which is ok with me too.

We will have to see...

squarepeg said...

WTF is wrong with people? Honestly.

Have I mentioned before that you should write a book about Mama? Your stories are so vivid, and so touching. I look forward to them, and through them I feel like I know you both. Or at least I'd like to :)

Bea said...

Right. I have no explanation. Thank goodness for those girls and their common sense. (Or social embarrassment, whichever.) Glad it got sorted out in the end, and your MIL recognised her Ron.

Bea

Nica said...

Yep, Mama always points out Ron. Hermione -- a complete wash. Never points her out. (It maay just be that her name is TOO HARD TO SAY!)

I have to admit -- all this fuss about the FINAL BOOK has made me want to read it, myself...

Dianne/Flutter said...

Sorry you had to deal with him. Man sometimes don't you wish you can say, "Did you take an extra dosage of a$$hole pill today?"

I love that Mama reads those books...love it!