Back when I lived with four people in a small three bedroom and one large closet house downtown, I experienced the worst and most embarrassing moments of my existence up until that point. The chance to shame myself happens very seldom as an adult because of an overwhelming obsession with details and constant self-awareness that makes most fuck ups almost entirely avoidable. This night was an exception.
I was twenty three and my newly moved in male roommate had gotten free tickets to a midnight screening of The Editor from our other roommate who worked at this film festival that year. We had flirted harmlessly for a while but I wasn’t really into the idea of having sex with him and compromising our roommate friendship. We decided to go on a date to this movie and being that it started late and we had a good chunk of time beforehand, we drank a half a magnum of cheap white wine and smoked a joint at home before leaving. He had also brought a joint for smoking outside the theatre to further ensure me getting really messed up that night. The movie was showing at a university screening theatre downtown and we got there just in time to see a bunch of people walking down the red carpet. This made me anxious as I already felt stoned and like everyone was looking at me. They, most definitely, were not. Not yet at least.
We cross the street and smoke in a parking lot. I feel okay given all the wine and pot but I have to pee a little. I ignore this urge because, gross, peeing is gross, girls are disgusting. When we enter the theatre, the lights are slightly low and the seats are maybe half filled. We decide that the best seats are three rows from the front and right in the middle. These seats are pretty much half a row down from a single guy sitting in the aisle seat. When we get into his row, he politely moves his legs so we can pass by. He looks friendly. We sit in the middle seats and start chatting and at this point it’s urgent that I pee before the movie starts. I’m worried the lights will dim even further and I’ll forget where I’m sitting. Again, I was high. We hadn’t been sitting there for five minutes but in that time the man at the end of the row had fallen asleep. This is not surprising because it is a Tuesday and it’s midnight and he likely had work in the morning like most people in the world.
I don’t notice him sleeping as I walk towards him, but I do notice how extended his legs are now. I’m getting nervous as I approach him and the aisle. He looks like he could be dead. I debate climbing over the seats into either the rows in front or behind us but at the last second chicken out and see that while his legs are extended to touch the chairs in front of him, they’re also spread wide open. My dumb fuck brain thinks that this opening would be a great place for me to put one of my legs, so I could hop over him in one sneaky snake movement. I steady myself by putting a hand on the back of his seat and on the seat in front of him and lift my right leg. The opening is not big enough for me. I’m squeezing myself into the spot in between his legs. I land my leg on the floor of the opening and then stop moving. I’m essentially straddling this poor stranger and he’s still sleeping. I’m frozen, I can’t move because he may wake up. I haven’t even been this intimate with my roommate yet and I remember him and try to see if he can see me giving this random aisle seat guy a lap dance. Then I realize that the other people in the theatre might be watching this too. The other people also included the producers, director, editors and actors that are in this movie. As I’m contemplating this, the aisle man wakes up. I am still straddling his one leg with both of mine. I look him in the eyes and see pure terror. He has no idea who I am or why I’m there. Or why I’m trying to hump his leg. I apologize profusely. I disentangle myself from him, with a little bit of help from his end, finally. I can’t look at him while he keeps insisting that it’s okay and that he’s fine. He just wants me to be okay but I am so far from that. I just want to get away from this situation as fast as I can.
As I make it to the aisle I breathe a sigh of relief and make my way quickly up the stairs. I don’t get two steps before I trip on my way up. I am practically horizontal on the stairs that I’m now realizing are lit up from the bottom. I can’t even compute what’s happening to me as I hadn’t fully recovered from grinding on the man in the aisle while my roommate was probably playing a game on his phone. I lay there unsure of what to do. A man sitting in the seat to my left slowly half lifts himself from his seat and hovers over me. “Are you okay?” I’m at eye level with his feet.
I think to myself: Pretend you are dead. Don’t move and this will be over in a few minutes. They’ll come to get your body and it will all be okay. But how long will it take for them to get here? Who are they? You’re a real person and you have to get up right now. No one is coming to save your dead body. I look up at the man and grit my teeth. “I’m fine. Thanks.” Lifting myself up slowly, I realize that my legs are hurt and that I will have to limp up the remainder of the stairs. I’m legitimately injured. I approach the top of the stairs and start thinking about whether or not people will recognize my bright blue jeans. On the way to the bathroom I think about leaving my roommate and telling him I’ll meet him back at the house. I don’t want to go back in there after having experienced two events so horrible and shameful one right after the other like that. But after peeing, I do go back. Because I want to see the movie but also to prove to myself that embarrassing moments like that don’t really matter. My roommate didn’t see anything and didn’t realize the extent of my injuries. He didn’t quite believe it had happened until I showed him my busted knee the next morning. We sat through the movie and I legitimately enjoyed it. I made sure to pee again before walking home.