Monday, August 29, 2011


Friends were going to the movie theater on Saturday and asked me to join them. I heard myself say "yes." This made my third trip to the movie theater - in a year!

Off I went - feeling safe and confident. I had seen a television preview of this movie. My sister and several friends had read the book. So, feeling brave in spite of foggy vision and unsteady gait, off to the movies I went.

Over the past five decades, going to the movies has NOT been my pleasure. You see, there was a fire all those many years ago. I was young, brave and invulnerable when I was challenged by fire in a movie theater. Everyone, including my brother and I did get out alive though reeking of smoke and a bit singed; certainly, one more thing to be grateful for in my lifetime.

I think we smelled something burning. When we turned around we saw the flames. My brother leaped toward the Exit door and hit it with force. It wouldn't open. To escape, we had to go through the entranceway where flaming embers were falling from the projection room where the fire roared. In the minute lost trying to escape through the exit, we realized the entrance was the only way out. By now everything below the projection room was aflame. It appeared almost like a circus ring of fire that performers and animals jump through - as entertainment.

We became the circus performers. Pulling my shirt over my head and nose, I leaped with giant steps through the ring of fire. Once through, my brother grabbed my wrist and pulled me away from the building.

From that day forward I take note of the location of exit doors wherever I go: work, stores, pulic buildings, malls, and of course meeting rooms or theaters. To this day I am constantly alert to fire dangers, overly crowded rooms, elevators, flimsy structures, doors opening in instead of out as well as the location of exit doors.

A few years after the fire incident, now married with children, I realized maternally the danger and oconsequences of fire. I had four preschool children and just two hands, so we began to practice fire escape exercises. My children thought it was just more rules like 'don't step into the street,' 'no running with scissors,' or 'strange dogs bite."

Most buildings, businesses and meeting rooms follow fire ordinances but I still see violations. I can choose to stay or leave. That is probably why I felt comfortable attending a movie - for the third time in one year. I had checked out this multi-theater complex twice before. I actually went to see one of the movies alone - making sure it would pass my safety inspection. It did. The movie was Julie-Julia. Then I saw The King's Speech and, recently with my lady friends, The Help. I have a comforting confidence in seeing movies at this theater and won't hesitate to say 'yes' to another opportunity.

One doesn't forget being trapped by fire. I have found a way to deal with my concern, one that not only satisfies my expectation of safety, but allows me freedom to choose to say yes or no.

Have you enjoyed a good movie lately?
If not... What's your excuse for not going to the theater?
Tell me. I'd like to know.

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