Dave and I rarely go out to see a movie. We’re like a lot of other “old folks” who prefer to watch movies via Netflix or Amazon in the comfort and slouchy dress of our den. But, Tuesday, when I was on the way home from an appointment with the eye guy, Dave said we were going to see the 1:40 showing of Captain Phillips.
He added that Mom would be serving lunch at 12:30 so we would need to eat and run.
I said okay. I was already in something of a daze. Dr. J had dilated my eyes and, furthermore, had informed me that his surgeon friend would take my cataracts out and put new lenses in before the end of the year. Don’t get me wrong, I want cataract surgery. I’ve been praying for cataracts for twenty-five years, since the day the ophthalmologist told me that’s the only way I’d get my wonky vision fixed.
At my May appointment, Dr. J did not change my prescription. Instead, he said that the beginnings of cataracts were causing blurring and glare and all the typical cataract symptoms.
“Can I have surgery?” I asked.
“Not yet,” was the answer. “Come back to see me in six months.”
I was supposed to go back in November but things couldn’t wait, and yet, after he gave me the pronouncement on Tuesday, I said, “I just can’t believe it’s my cataracts causing these problems.”
Dr J answered, “And now we know why I’m the eye doctor and you write stories.”
We both laughed out loud, along with the practice administrator who was acting as my nurse/tech for the day. (The clinic was overrun so the boss had to come out of his office.)
I was shocked, surprised, flummoxed. I expected to get a new glasses prescription, and maybe-oh-maybe get lens implants sometime in late 2014. Dr. J explained that the earlier cataracts start, the faster they seem to progress. He also said some of the ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ pills I’ve swallowed during the last couple of years hurried things along. I shyly admitted that I also went outside and stood in the sun without sunglasses, too, another aid to cataract progression. (I said I wanted cataracts, okay?)
“Dave,” I said, “I’m going to have cataract surgery.”
“Soon. Before the end of the year.”
“Huh. Well, you know what Captain Phillips is about, don’t you? It’s the story of that ship the Somali pirates hijacked, remember?”
“Yeah, okay. Well, tell Mom I’m on my way.”
We ate a leisurely dinner of chicken and dumplings, one of Mom’s specialties, and headed for the theatre. I drove, and wondered why I would want to do that since I really don’t see so well.
We saved fifty cents each at the box office as we got the senior rate. When we smelled the popcorn, we knew we had to have it. There was ample time for Dave to calculate the best option between a small bag and one large drink, or the medium combo of a bigger bag of popcorn and two medium drinks. He can’t help it. He’s a retired accountant and he counts everything. We got the combo.
When we got to our seats, I asked Dave, “This turns out okay, doesn’t it?”
“Don’t you ever watch the news?” he asked.
“Yeah, but sometimes they change the story in the movie,” I answered.
“Everything turns out alright,” he said.
In the opening scene of the movie, Captain Phillips and his wife are in the car together, on the way to the airport. He’s going to sea. They talk about whether their children are fit for this new world we live in. When they get to the airport, Andrea assures her husband that everything will be fine and they kiss goodbye.
Fifteen minutes into the movie, we were done with popcorn. I set the half-full bag on the seat beside me and Dave said we could take the extra home. I told him he could have it because I don’t like leftover popcorn.
The head hijacker’s name is Muse. Muse, saying that he knows Phillips is American, asks the captain, “But what’s your tribe?”
“Oh, well, I’m Irish,” Phillips says, and Muse calls him Irish for the rest of the movie.
Just about the time Muse reassures Phillips for the first time, “Everything gonna be okay, Irish,” Dave punched me with his elbow.
“Give me the popcorn bag,” I heard him say.
He buried his head in that popcorn. I wondered how he could be hungry. Just a couple of minutes later, he got up and left with the popcorn.
It finally occurred to me that he wasn’t hungry, but was using the popcorn bag for, well, you know . . . He was sick. I got up and met him in the hallway on his way back. He was carrying the bag.
“I didn’t know what happened to you,” I said.
“I said, ‘Hand me that popcorn bag, I’m going to be sick,'” he said.
“Didn’t hear you. Are you having chest pains?”
“No. It’s my stomach.”
“Is your arm numb?”
“No. It’s my stomach. I’ll be okay. I’m just going to stand down here for a while where I can watch the movie.”
“Let’s go home.”
“No. I’ll be okay in a few minutes.”
“Then I’m staying with you.”
“I guess we won’t be taking any popcorn home,” he said.
“Don’t make me throw up,” I said.
“Why don’t you go on back to our seats? I’ll be up there in a few minutes.”
“No. I’m staying here with you.”
We leaned our heads over the handrails, mostly hidden from the audience, until he said, “Oops, I need . . .” and left again for the restroom. I heard Muse say, “Everything gonna be okay.”
Five minutes later, Dave was back. “I need a new bag,” he said. “The bottom of this one is really soggy.”
“We need to go home,” I said.
“No. I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll go get one,” I said.
At the now-quiet concession stand I explained, “I need a large, empty bag. My husband is sick.”
The dark-headed young man, so cute, said, “Oh, no, we can’t do that.”
“What? You can’t give me a bag?”
“How about I give you one of these medium sizes?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said.”That’s great.” It’s just the large he can’t give me.
“But you’ll have to bring it back.”
“Bring it back. You know why I’m getting this bag . . .”
“Yeah, but they don’t let us give anything away unless we account for it.”
I nodded my head.
Dave was still leaning on the rail. I gave him the new bag.
“I have to take that back,” I said.
“Something about having to account for all the bags,” I said.
“It’s to keep them from giving free popcorn to their friends,” he said.
We both re-assumed our leaning position.
“We need to go home, Dave.”
“No. I’m not going. I’m seeing this movie.”
“Then let’s sit in those front seats there,” I said. “You can run right out here if you need to leave again.”
“Yeah. I’m going to be okay,” he said.
Muse said something similar just as we sat down.
“You could go get our Diet Cokes,” Dave said.
“No, I am not running around, up and down this theater. I have some water in my purse.”
“Okay, I’ll have some.”
I handed the water to him and it might have been another thirty minutes before he said, “I gotta go.”
I knew he didn’t mean he had to go home. I just stayed put and tried to figure out where we were with the captain and the pirates.
Muse knew his hours, and perhaps his minutes, were numbered. And still he persisted in assuring his hostage–and himself, “Everything gonna be okay.”
Dave got back in turn to see the finish.
When they rescue Captain Phillips from his captors, a real-life Navy Corpsman, Danielle Albert, treats him and asks him questions about his injuries. Phillips, in shock, overwhelmed physically and emotionally, wants to know if his family knows that he is okay. She says they know.
Then, I swear, she tells him, “Everything is going to be okay.”
Dave and I were first out the door. I told him I needed to return the bag. “Or,” I said, “maybe I should just toss it. What are they going to do to me?”
Remember I said Dave is an accountant? “No, no,” he said, “if they have to count it . . . Here.” He handed me a folded popcorn bag. “This is the first bag. I’ll keep the other for the car.”
I found my cute boy and held the bag up by one corner.
“I can’t believe you want this yucky bag . . .”
“We have to account,” he said. “Inventory, you know.” He took the bag over the counter with a napkin.
“I still can’t believe you want that.”
“Well, we’re not going to use it.”
“Ohhhh, good,” I said.
I got to the van at the same time as Dave. He climbed in the passenger seat and I drove.
I fussed for a few minutes. “I just wonder if the health department knows they collect bags of vomit in the same place they serve popcorn.”
Dave said, “We’ll have to watch it again on Netflix. Then I can see the parts I missed.”
I didn’t wreck, run a red light, or veer off the road.
Everything gonna be okay.
2 thoughts on “Of Cataracts and Captains: Everything Gonna Be Okay”
it’s the slices and dices of life that provide the real human moments…………..my compliments and on so many levels there is empathy …………….and the cataracts and your eyes “will be just fine.”………………..
Thanks, Pete. Yep, everything gonna be okay.