If you are anything like me, you adore the movie-going experience in a real-life theater with a big screen and a captivating sound system. Also if you are like me, you know that just about anything can ruin that experience.

(Editor’s Note: If you are like me in a great many additional ways, I would suggest seeking professional help — and, no, this blog doesn’t count.)

But let’s get back to “ruined experiences,” as that’s where the fun is.

As I was saying, so many things can ruin a trip to the movies: talkative neighbors, people using cell phones, voracious eaters who step on your feet on their way to the snack bar — and on and on. These days, the potential to be annoyed at the movies is growing in leaps and bounds, as theater owners strive to recreate the “living room experience” in their movie theater, adding huge, comfy recliners to further appease our lethargic culture. What next: pillows and blankets for the full “watching in bed experience?”

I shouldn’t have said that.  Now it will happen for sure.

But let’s push all these man-made annoyances aside for a moment to focus on something else, something that only people like me (people who notice everything) will relate to. And that is encountering a dirty or damaged screen.

I recently attended a movie where this aesthetic disaster happened.  I arrived 20 minutes early, as usual, so I could acclimate myself to the surroundings, thereby reducing the odds of having a panic attack dramatically. I was enjoying the pre-film announcements, picking off movie trivia questions like a sharpshooter, when something disturbing caught my eye.  There was a tiny bright spot on the screen.

Now this spot may have merely amounted to the equivalent of a few pixels on a computer screen, nevertheless there they were, sunlight bright and distracting (to me). I pointed out this spot to my wife, and she did not see it at all.

I tried convincing myself that, once the movie began, I would become so engrossed in its plot that this mere fleck of light on the huge screen would disappear, but that wasn’t the case. My eyes grew fixated on this minuscule blotch of brightness and that was that. The spot now became the focus of the film.

I watched as the scenes changed and the spot landed on different things as people moved around.  A closeup landed the spot on the protagonist’s forehead.  Later, the spot landed precariously close to his nostril, and I waited with eager anticipation to see if it would enter.

You get the idea: despite my valiant efforts to ignore this film-screen flaw, a game (of sorts) sprang to life, and I derived pleasure when the spot landed on someplace interesting: someone’s mouth, face, or even places too naughty to mention. By the end of the film, I had completely forgotten what the movie was about.  All I could remember was all the interesting places where the spot landed.

Maybe someday I will go back and try to watch that movie again (in a theater with a good screen) to see if it was any good — if only I could remember its name.  Right now, I refer to it as “Spot’s Big Adventure.” I will have to check my local listings to see if I can solve this mystery. I will also pay attention to the Oscar nominations to see if that refreshes my memory.

So, what is the lesson from this experience?  What did I learn?


I guess that sometimes these things happen, and there is no way to change them; so the best thing to do it to forget trying to change them.  Just sit back and see where your spot lands.

Wait a minute!  I guess there actually was a lesson in this fiasco after all. Life can be great like that!


About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

2 responses »

  1. anfinsenart says:

    My husband and I entered an empty theater (early) and sat down. I proceeded to put my feet up on the back of the seat in front of me. Lo and behold, a senior lady came in and sat down right in front of me, and asked me to please remove my feet. My husband suggested she find another seat in the huge and empty auditorium. “I always sit here,” was her reply.

  2. That’s a great attitude to have 🙂 Last time I went I had to leave because someone came in wearing the most obnoxiously loud fragrance that cause me to have an instant migraine type headache. Unlike you, I couldn’t find a bright side. Oh, wait, kind of: I get to watch movies at home in clean air? Have a great day!

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