So Wednesday is my day off. No teaching - the day is mine and mine alone. But the plans that took form yesterday afternoon involved me heading out to Richmond and catching up with two of my lovely pals from Bikram Yoga Chiswick. And so that's exactly what I did this morning and it was lovely, thank you very much for asking. As a result of heading out early I thought I might then pop over to Kingston to see 10 Cloverfield Lane, because I want to see it, and no one else I know wanted to see it, and I quite like a daytime cinema trip anyway. It feels a bit decadent, if you know what I mean. So I headed to Kingston.
The first component of Clusterfuck Wednesday (I do apologise for the swearing; when I first started this blog 10 years ago I decided there would be no swearing. But I figure we're all 10 years older now so we can probably handle it, right?) occurred when I tried to buy a ticket. There was no one at the tills in Kingston Odeon so I used one of the self service machines outside. Having tapped in all my details I was just about to put my debit card in when someone from the cinema walks past me and says "I wouldn't use that one mate - it's been freezing a bit recently. Use the next one instead."
I'm this close to saying "well don't you think you should, y'know, put a sign on it or something?" but instead I say "thank you," take a cheeky step to the left, and tap all my detail in again on the next machine. I pop my card in, the machine flashes up THANK YOU FOR YOUR PURCHASE, and no ticket comes out.
|Give me my ticket.|
Picture me standing there, reader, scratching my head in what I hope is a slightly bemused yet adorable fashion, and look around for someone to help. Eventually I catch the eye of an Odeon employee. She's really helpful and scurries off to get a key to open the machine and retrieve my ticket, which she reckons has gotten snarled up in the printer bit.
A few minutes later with key in hand she returns, cracks open the machine and retrieves… my receipt. There's no ticket. "It's okay," she says. "I'll walk you in." She does so, and I thank her for her help, after which I have to explain to the man who tears the tickets and lets you in that I want my receipt back, not only because it's the only proof I've got that I paid to get in, but also because I can pop it through on my next tax return.
So I head upstairs to the screen and plonk myself down in the optimum seating position. A few minutes later another man comes in and sits a few seats along from me. The lights go down and the adverts start. And then the screen goes blank.
We both sit there in darkness listening to the adverts and staring at a blank screen and it becomes apparent that the screen is not going to magically reactivate. So I get up, get the other chap to allow me past, head out of the screen and go outside. There is no one around to talk to about the fact that the screen isn't working. So I get on the escalator, go back down to the lobby and tell someone there. A few minutes later I'm back in the screen and - HEY PRESTO! - the screen comes back to life.
I settle down to watch the trailers. At which point the screen goes blank again. By this time three more people have come in, but it's apparent that neither they nor the other chap sitting along from me give two hoots about the fact we're ensconced in darkness and there's no picture. So I get up and go outside again. Again, there's no one to complain to, so I get back on the escalator, go back down to the lobby and talk to the same person I spoke to just minutes earlier.
"We fixed it," she says.
"I know," I reply. "It's stopped working again."
"Oh," she says. "I'll call the manager."
She plucks a walkie talkie from her belt and holds it to her mouth like she's about to order a tactical nuclear strike.
"Come in," she says. "
"Yes?" Says a voice from the other end.
"Screen 10 has stopped working," she explains.
"I know," says the voice at the other end. "I fixed it."
"A guest says it's broken again," she says.
"That's twice it's broken now," says the founding member of Mensa at the other end.
"He's on it," she reassures me with a dead-eyed look.
"I think I'll get a refund, please," I say, fearing that my potential enjoyment of 10 Cloverfield Lane might be spoilt by me having to leave the cinema every five minutes to report a technical fault.
A few minutes later a lovely yet somewhat stressed looking lady takes me to the tills to issue me a refund.
"Can I have your ticket please?" She asks.
"No," I say. "I never got one." And then have to explain to her the saga of the broken ticket machine. Ten minutes later I run from Kingston Odeon clutching £9.25 in my hands and a resolution never to go back there in my mind.
By this time it's 1.15pm and I still want to see 10 Cloverfield Lane. So I decide to head to Staines (or Staines-Upon-Thames as it's now called for reasons no one seems able to fathom) to catch the 2pm screening at the Vue cinema. Kingston to Staines is about a 25 minute drive. Plenty of time.
Or at least it would've been plenty of time if I hadn't have hit two sets of roadworks on one road, and another set on the road I took to try and avoid a third set further up the first road.
By the time I reach Staines an hour and 20 minutes later, in plenty of time to catch the 3.10pm screening of 10 Cloverfield Lane, I'm at that slightly frazzled point where I'm REALLY HOPING 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE IS WORTH ALL THE HASSLE. I buy a ticket, settle down, and…
Watch the film *phew!*
And yes, it's a great film, THANK FUCK.
But wait, it doesn't end there. After the film I swing by Waitrose to get some dinner. After the day I've had I decide I need some chips, so I pick up a lovely big bag of frozen chunky chips and head to the tills. The queue is only a few people deep, but the lady working it is agonisingly slow, not helped by the old lady who's bought 10 ready meals in the reduced section which are all plastered with barcodes that won't scan. Eventually I get to the front of the queue, and as the lady scans the bag of chips… it splits open.
"Oh dear," she says. "Do you still want these?"
"Not really," I reply as I watch her pluck frozen chips off the barcode scanner and pop them delicately back in the bag.
Anyway, I'm home now, and I don't plan on leaving the house again until Clusterfuck Wednesday is done and dusted.