I’ve always wanted to work at a movie theater. This summer I need a job, so I decided to apply. The application was available online, and it was a lot less daunting than I’d assumed. They wanted my address, phone number, level of education—the usual things. The monotony of filling out forms like these has become peaceful with age. Often my mind wanders: I can think about almost anything while writing my year of birth, or dad’s cell phone number.
In this particular instance, I started thinking of all my memories at the movies, like when my flip flop got stuck to the floor (sadly, forever) during Nacho Libre, or when two friends vehemently made out next to me during The Wolf of Wall Street, and I felt overwhelmingly surrounded by gluttony. Suddenly, a startling image of my movie theater experience came into memory. On the name tag of every employee I’ve ever seen, in every movie theater I’ve ever been to, is written their favorite movie. I don’t know my favorite movie.
For years, this has caused me stress. Every first day of summer camp, personality quiz, and social media profile has required some variation of this question to be answered. I simply can’t. I love movies so much, and so many of them are so special to me. What really defines a “favorite” movie, anyway? There are movies I can watch a million times over and never get bored with—notably Titanic. But I don’t have the confidence in my femininity to put that movie on my tag. There are movies that have altered my being, which I constantly reflect on, but if I put Requiem for a Dream on my tag, I’d look sadistic. No Lars von Trier movies either. I can’t seem weird or too European to customers. There are movies which adhere to both of these assumed guidelines, but they have really long titles, like The Place Beyond the Pines, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I wouldn’t want to put an elderly person through the challenge of having to read these titles in nine-point font on my three-inch-wide tag. Will anyone even read my tag? Does it really matter? It probably does. Is my boss going to make me explain my choice?
I need to slow down. I haven’t gotten the job yet, and there’s a large possibility I won’t, due in part to the fact I’ve never had a real job before. The only people I can think to cite as references are babysitting clients (is that even what you call them?) who’ve arrived home to me playing on my cell phone while their kids were climbing bookshelves. I do this a lot, distract myself by dwelling on minutiae to avoid a bigger problem.
What if I just didn’t put a movie on my tag, would they be cool with that? ♦