Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Mysterious Emergency

With about 7 minutes left in Unbroken, I was reclining in a luxury movie seat, well aware of the irony, when suddenly the screen went dark and the house lights came up. A strobe light flashed halogen-bright and a mechanical voice quietly announced that An emergency has been detected in the building: please proceed to the nearest emergency exit and evacuate immediately.

All around me, people blinked, some straining to hear the message, others straining to comprehend it. Soon we filed in an orderly line to double doors down and to the left of the screen. I wasn't afraid, but I was alarmed as we entered the unheated concrete corridor beyond. We followed it to a wide stairway, also concrete, our footsteps echoing coldly, until we reached another set of metal doors and pushed through them into the night. 

Back at the entrance people were streaming through all sorts of anonymous doors that I never associated with the theater. There was no sign of emergency, but neither was there any sign of management or even other personnel, and hundreds of folks shivered in groups of three or four discussing their options. "I think it's just a drill," a child confidently assured the adults in his group, and of course he did. At school, it must seem like we are forever interrupting kids' routine activities and forcing them to file outside for no apparent reason.

At last we agreed that, since we knew the ending, and any sort of on the spot compensation would take some time, that it would be best to leave with our ticket stubs and worry about recompense later. So far, despite my efforts, I can't find out what happened-- it's more of a cliffhanger than the movie.

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