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Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sneak in the House of Love

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2009 at 6:01 PM

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Today, my very dear friend and sneaking companion, Madame H, got married.

Pros: Nobody believes marriage will make her change her sneaky ways. Now that they are flesh of one flesh and therefore sneak of one sneak, I can probably press her husband into happy service as a second set of pockets. He was gifted by nature with something I have been striving to achieve my whole life: an innocent face.

Cons: When you're well known among your friends as a sneak, suspicion that you're hiding food about your person at any and all events grows as effortlessly as cedars on a rocky hillside. As the wedding ceremony, conducted almost entirely in Sanskrit, stretched into its second hour, people started looking at me apprehensively, as if they expected sub sandwiches to spontaneously spring from my handbag.

When I write this blog, I write about love: love of food, love of movies, love of sneaking food into movies and the attendant thrill of minor infractions. I am a sneak in love. Let me tell you two stories about Madame H that are ostensibly about sneaking food into a movie but are, down in the DNA, bound up with smooth ribbons of affection.

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Show: Pulp Fiction, the first film of that summer's slate of midnight movies at the Tivoli, some years ago.

Food: Cheap beer, bottled. It came from my fridge, and I was still in grad school, so it was probably High Life.

Difficulty: Easy. Just two bottles of beer and an opener the size of a pack of gum, dropped into a messenger bag.

Cracking open a beer in the expectant darkness of a movie theater is always a rush, but it's amplified at the midnight show by the audience's awareness of time and place. Every person there knows that the midnight show is set apart and special, that there's something so valuable about sitting in the air conditioning together in the middle of the night, watching a movie practically everyone owns on DVD, that it's worth paying full price for a ticket. The midnight movie everyone's seen before is its own kind of church. The audience knows the liturgy of what Marcellus Wallace looks like, the passion of Mia's OD and resurrection, the mystery of a briefcase glowing like a star for the pulp underworld's most talkative shepherds.

One doesn't go see Pulp Fiction at midnight to know these things for the first time but rather to savor the summer-specific freedom of being there. Go in at midnight to come out into an early morning that's green and insistent, even aggressive, like biting into a celery stalk and leaving your teeth embedded, pressing its raggedly sheared off end hard into your gums. How could I not open up a cheap, cheap beer, savoring the hiss of the broken seal?

How could I not softly clink the rim against that of my sneaking compatriot and life-long friend, Madame H -- glass to glass, the truest platonic kiss? Normally I don't sneak beer into movie theaters that serve beer because it violates the Sneaking Code of Ethics, but this was an extreme case in which the Doctrine of Appropriate Pairings was controlling. Stella and Schlafly were too many miles away from a Royale with Cheese to pull the job. You would judge me? You would condemn us all, breathing our soft "Oh, hell yes," hallelujah into the flickering dark as the credits rolled.

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