A Woody Allen Moment

Aug 22


Quite a few moments, actually.

Do you have any idea how much time the “average” American spends waiting? Try 2 to 3 years. 2 to 3 Years! Hard to believe, but not really, when you factor in doctor’s offices, the lines at Costco, and the Motor Vehicle Bureau.

RomeWithLove2I hate waiting as much as the next person, but, not wanting to be anything short of average, I try to do my share—including braving the line around the block for the new Woody Allen movie,

To Rome With Love.

So far I wasn’t loving anything. Standing in the hot sun for hours (okay, it was only minutes) I feared I would faint or at the very least break out in hives. And that even if we got in, we’d end up in the first row (Will anyone get it if I  call it The Front?) where I’d get a stiff neck from looking up at the screen, or worse, get stuck behind someone with a large head or bouffant hair.

So there I am, vertically challenged, overheated, and about to be stricken with hives, when I look around and notice that this is a very good-looking crowd for a movie in Manhattan, where the attire usually runs to ratty tee-shirts and shorts, even in winter and even when over-achieving air conditioners make theatres feel like meat lockers. But here, on this lovely summer day, on 61st Street, we had attractive men in blazers and/or and straw hats. (You Will Meet A Tall, Dark Stranger? Well, someone will.) And the women were looking anywhere from casually elegant to elegantly elegant. In a casual sort of way.

WoodyjpgOf course they were. They were upper Eastside Woody Allen fans. All with New York Stories. One guy was the spitting image (Why do we say that?) of Woody himself, complete with The Hat, The Glasses, and The Light Blue Button-down Shirt. More than one double-take was taken, certainly by me, but alas, it was not actually Mr. A. No Soon-Yi either.

Besides the sartorial superiority of the crowd, it also seemed to be a high-strung—dare I say slightly neurotic—group of people, and I feared that a fair amount of aggression would be unleashed once we got in (if we ever did) in a mad scramble to get seats. I am not good with aggression, especially of the unleashed variety.

AnnieHallSo I asked Lou, the ever-patient husband (Well, he’d have to be, wouldn’t he?), to please go to the box office and get our money back. Meanwhile, I stayed on line on the off chance that it would actually move. At one point, I asked someone to hold our place, found a seat in the lobby of an adjacent building with the help of a sympathetic doorman (perhaps he had hives too), rested a bit, then returned to the line. I got a dirty look from the woman in back of me, who looked like she had just stepped out of some super chic store on Madison Avenue (Where is Annie Hall when you need her?), but no actual violence occurred. She didn’t, that is to say, hit me on the head with a large polo mallet. . .



Disaster averted, we got to Take The Money And Run, happy to escape being trapped in a theatre with a mob, perhaps angry by now, of Woody Allen fans. What if they all didn’t get seats? What about the ones who got lousy seats, in back of someone with a large head AND a bouffant hairdo? What if the movie wasn’t that good? What if it was a Sleeper? This is late Woody Allen, after all.

And while I am a devoted fan who loves or likes or at least finds something interesting in everything he does, others of the dressed-up-for-a-movie on Saturday afternoon persuasion might not be so charitable. The 1%, after all, is used to getting what it wants. These people could drop their grudgingly guarded good manners in a heartbeat and go Bananas. It has been known to happen.

In any event, I was not going to brave this crowd, not even for the Woodman. After all, it was not a matter of Love and Death. Besides, what had made me think that we could get into a Woody Allen movie a day after it opened!  On a weekend! In nice weather! On the Upper Eastside!

I must be crazy. Or at least, a tad neurotic. If  Woody had actually been there, he could have given  me the name of his shrink. He must know the number by heart. Maybe we could delve into my psyche and discover the underlying cause of my fear of polo mallets and, more important, my phobia about waiting on lines because this problem ain’t going away any time soon.

P.S. Saw the movie a few weeks later at a local theatre where the patrons were their usual bedraggled selves and the lines were relatively short. Rome was well, okay, not great, except for the bit about fame with Roberto Benigni and the scene with the band playing Volare on the Spanish Steps. Not as good as Midnight in Paris, which is probably just as well because that film cost us more than the price of admission: we liked it so much we made an actual trip to Paris. Fortunately, we’ve already been to Rome. And also to Barcelona, although not with Vicky or Cristina.

EverythingWoodyI hope Woody’s next film isn’t about Antarctica. Or if it is, I hope we don’t love it. I know it’s the cool thing to do these days, but I just don’t see penguins or frozen tundras in my future. Maybe we should stay safely indoors and rewatch an old Woody film. . . like Interiors

Or better yet, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask.

Hey, Whatever Works. . .

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