At noon, I walked over to Tinseltown, a 12-screen multiplex on the edge of the bad part of town, so to speak. I bought a ticket for Intermission (Flashosity ahead), an Irish film starring several luminaries, including Colin Farrell, Colm Meaney and Cilian Murphy.
When the film started, I was very pleased to discover that I was the only one watching it. This brings me great joy (as it has on two previous occasions at this same multiplex–Boys Don’t Cry on Christmas Eve and a weekday matinee of, uh, Eurotrip).
About halfway through the film, I got up to go the bathroom. As I was coming out of the theatre, a guy was coming in through the other door. I thought it was a bit odd, but he didn’t look particularly dodgy, so I carried on. On returning to the theatre, I discovered daylight spilling in from one of the exit doors near the screen, and my bag–containing my wallet, keys, iPod and sunglasses–was gone. There was a young cinema employee standing in the exit doorway.
Fortunately, there is a maze of stairs between the exit and the outside world. I saw the cinema employee run off, and I tore off after him. The employee managed to stop a guy–the same guy I’d seen entering the theatre–just before he went outside. My bag (a leather valise–lovingly referred to as my ‘manbag’ or ‘murse’) was nowhere to be seen.
The guy claimed total innocence, talking a mile a minute and showing me the contents of his backpack. While I was pretty sure he was guilty, he clearly didn’t have my stuff. I figured that he had dumped it once he heard us coming. Sure enough, on the way back upstairs to the theatre, I found my bag thrown under a staircase, just out of sight. It was unopened, with all of the contents still inside.
I shrugged, thanked the employee for his help, and went back to watching the movie. It was kind of an Irish Short Cuts, telling the interwoven story of a half-dozen or so Dubliners search for love and money. The script was witty, pacey and very genuine, and the acting was, to use an Irish (or English?) phrase, top drawer. Particularly Murphy and Kelly Macdonald, who are both stunners. I last saw the lovely Kelly in Gosford Park, and she’s got a supporting role in a big biopic about J. M. Barrie.
I’d be curious to hear what some Irish friends has to say, but it seemed like the genuine article to me. The sharpness and emotionality of Irish men, the visciousness of Northside knackers, the shyness about sex, the gregarious articulateness of everybody–resonated pretty truly for me.
After the movie, I walked a block or two around the theatre, looking for the thief. To do what? Show him that I got my bag? Yell at him? Try to kick his ass (he was a little guy, and kind of fey)? I’m not really sure. I didn’t find him, though, which was probably for the best.
There are two lessons for me in this incident. One, don’t be stupid and leave your bag in an empty theatre. More importantly, don’t be stupider and ignore your spider sense. We all have it, that instinctual, repitilian part of our brain. I saw that guy into the theatre as I was coming out, and something raised a warning in the back of my head. A brief conversation occurred in there:
REPTILIAN BIT OF BRAIN: Dude, go back into the theatre. That guy’s going to steal your stuff.
RATIONAL BIT OF BRAIN: Don’t be silly.
REPTILIAN: Seriously, turn around and go back.
RATIONAL: He had a CD player in the mesh pocket of his bag. Thieves don’t have CD players. They sell those for crack or prostitutes or whatever.
REPTILIAN: You’re going to regret this.
RATIONAL: Besides, our bladder is totally full.
Lesson two: you have intuition for a reason–don’t ignore it.
While walking home, my faith in humanity was restored by two ten-year-old girls selling tasty pink lemonade to raise money for landmine removal. At ten! At that age, I was busy deciding who I liked better, Snake Eyes or Scarlet.