Messy Popcorn 

Customers are messy creatures with slimy habits; they love to litter. Amongst the weirdest and most horrible of the discarded belongings are: half a boiled egg, a piles cushion, toffees chewed and spat out, and a poo! A festering turd, a frikkin poo!! Someone took a dump in their seat and just left it for the usher to find. It was a secret shitter scandal! Who is this outlaw? A podgy, pongy woman with shark eyes and a jellyfish body was discussing ‘whether just to leave it?’with her sidekick friend as she skulked off to the NO EXIT.

It’s funny what people choose to do in that big dark room full of silent strangers. If it’s not totally silent we sometimes get complaints:

 “why do you sell that God awful popcorn??! People crunching to my left, munching to my right … I couldn’t concentrate on the film! It’s ridiculous that you sell tickets for a show and then also something that will completely ruin the experience you twits!”

This was an old man customer, ranting and all in a rage. Some people are all chewed up and ugly. When customers are spitting and heaving and clenching their fists and tut –tut- tutting their vicious tongues at me, I start to pop inside. ‘I’m a human being too!!’ I think. “I’m sorry you feel like that Sir/ Madame” I say.

I enjoy a moment alone in the dark of the cinema. I weave in and out of the rows of red velvet chairs, sweeping up the popcorn and picking up the coffee cups and empty glasses that have been left after a show. ‘Eurgh Apple core!’ When the credits are rolling and the customers have gone; it’s my time to be entertained. Now that it’s as quiet as it is dark; I can sing out the catchy theme tune of ‘A Bigger Splash’ (It’s ‘Emotional Rescue’ by the Rolling Stones). This song gives me that shimmery super star rush of good feeling! Ten minutes later when I go to clean the other screen, the melancholic soundtrack of ‘Youth’ is haunting the room. I’m ‘la la la – ing’ along, but oops! I’m not alone: A lady sits in the back corner, she pops up to help me pick up wrappers and crushed cans.

Customer : “I don’t know why people don’t stay to watch the credits anymore. In arts cinemas they always used to stay and watch all the names, right until the very end.”

Me: “yes I suppose people nowadays are all too hectic and in a rush.”

Customer: “No it was more that they would stay and read all of the names out of respect for everyone who was involved in the making of the film.”

As this stranger helps me to pick up the discarded bits of rubbish, I think; hey, here’s a heap of junk that doesn’t belong anywhere… ‘Where are your belongings Mr. customer?’

 I suppose the 10 wasabi peas that missed your mouth – their dispersal is not really your responsibility. Wine glasses: those that look maybe more than half empty rather than half full must no longer be yours. Ice cream mini tubs and mini spoons, dropped on purpose now that you’ve licked up all the cold deliciousness, and let that ‘ginger spice’ ‘ choc chip’ delight drip onto the floor. 

You abandon your disposable belongings by wedging them down the armrest or kicking them under a cushion. Please just put them in my hand and meet me in the eye. When a licked wrapper falls on the floor it seems to instantly fall out of your possession. Its an MC wasteland.

 With all this rubbish deliberately dumped at my feet; and the conversation with the kind customer at the back of my mind, I think: yes, it’s respect that has been crunched up and strewn across the floor.