I'm a social retard.
I don't like crowds. I don't like people in general. I like individuals. A skill I have is finding some morsel of goodness is any person, no matter how small said morsel may be.
As for people on the whole, in a large group, particularly a large group of loud people who consistently invade my (rather large) personal bubble, I am not a fan.
For this reason, I generally avoid large public gatherings. I have been to one concert and I have no desire to ever attend another. I plan trips to zoos, pools, amusement parks, etc. on off-peak times whenever possible.
And I always, ALWAYS avoid opening night of any movie. I won't even go see another movie if something else big is premiering that night.
In spite of all of this, tonight I found myself smack-dab in the middle of Potter mania, more commonly known as the midnight showing of the newest Harry Potter film.
I know why I was there. I was there because my best friend in the whole wide world is a Harry Potter nut. Now, I do like me some Hogwarts, but let's do a comparison, shall we?
- I own and have read each of the books, the first few books three or four times, just to keep up when each subsequent book came out.
- My friend owns several copies of each book. She has both hardback and paperback editions, and she once referred to her paperback editions as the ones she reads and uses "for reference." She has worn out and had to purchase replacements for some of her books. I don't know if she has counted the number of times that she has read each book but I am certain that it numbers in the double digits. She got at least the last two books at midnight on the day of their release and had finished them before dawn.
- I know that Harry's birthday is sometime around the end of July.
- My friend knows all of the personal information about each character, including the fact that she and Hermione Granger would be mere weeks apart in age, if Hermione was in fact a real person.
- After reading the books a few times, I came to realize that many of the people and/or creatures who appear in the books are, in fact, real people or myths and not just a product of the author's imagination.
- My friend knows the original stories and biographies of all of these characters and can site from where each mythical character was originally drawn.
- I once mispronounced the name of the author, J. K. Rowling and was immediately and cantankerously corrected by this friend. I don't remember the correct pronunciation so instead of risking the wrath of my good pal, I refer to Ms. Rowling as merely "the author." I believe with all of my heart that this friend would tinkle a little in her pants if ever she had the opportunity to meet "the author."
- My friend has been busily crocheting several maroon and gold Gryffindor scarves, and I think I saw a tear glistening in her eye when my seven-year-old daughter announced her plans to be Hermione Granger for Halloween this year.
At 8:30 this evening (I say "this evening" because even though it's technically Wednesday, I haven't been to bed yet so it still feels like Tuesday to me), I popped a couple of anxiety pills, put the bottle in my purse, just to ensure that I could tolerate the crowd, grabbed my son and headed out. I found myself standing outside the theater at about 10:30 pm this evening, surrounded by what seemed like a million people. My wise friend purchased our tickets online so we were assured a seat and she had another friend save us a place in line. When we showed up, this other friend was only a few yards from the actual entrance to the theater. I snapped this picture with my phone:
I apologize for the crappy quality of the photo, but as I said, I was standing on the sidewalk just outside the front doors. You can kind of see the line of people waiting to get in snaking along the left side of the picture. The line ended a little past the first lamp post and kept growing as we stood in line.
It was freaking nuts.
There were all sorts of rules and regulations for the movie attendees: no saving seats, stay seated until the theater is full or risk losing your seat, blah blah.
I actually did fairly well, and I know that I have Xanax to thank for that. After everyone had filed into the theater and all of the seats were filled, I assumed snack duty and went out to the concessions stand to procure some popcorn, Coca Cola and gummy bears. When it was finally my turn, the poor girl helping me was so flustered that she kept messing up swiping my debit card. She apologized and told me that she was just a little freaked out by the number of people in attendance. I asked her how many of the ten theaters in the complex were showing Harry Potter and she told me that all of them were and each of them was sold out. When I asked her how many people each theater seated she just gave me a blank look. Then she replied "Um, like 50 I think?" and I knew that I had overloaded the poor girl. I thanked her, took my goodies and headed back into the theater. (I had to text my friend to ask her which one we were in because in all of the mayhem I couldn't remember which theater I had come out of. Texting seemed like a better idea than going into each theater, standing in the front and looking for familiar faces.)
Now, I'm no mathematical genius but even I know that the theater in which I was seated held more than 50 people. A quick search on Wikipedia when I got home told me that average movie theater capacity is 200-300. So conservative figuring tells me that at least 2,000 people showed up to watch the movie tonight. 2,000! The population of the town that I live in is just over 4,000. For a country girl like me, that's a huge number of people to wrap my head around (and purposely agree to hang out with).
On a side note, consider this bit of mind-boggling trivia: my home state, Idaho, has a population of roughly 1.5 million people in 823 square miles, which is about 1,822 people per square mile. New York City has a population of over 8.3 million people in 305 square miles, roughly 27,213 people per square mile. I don't think that there is enough Xanax in the world to enable me to live in New York. A week long visit would probably clean out my local pharmacy's supply.
In conclusion, the movie was great, the company was great, and with the aide of pharmaceuticals, I was able to enjoy myself, despite the large crowd.
I may even do it again for the seventh movie. But I'm not wearing a Gryffindor scarf.