A Conversation for The Movie Theatre and Cinema Survival Guide
Ticket to “the ceiling” (of a cinema)
Alfredo Started conversation Nov 18, 2006
Ticket to “the ceiling”
(This story belongs to the don’t-try-this-at-home-kids-category)
Every human probably has its own taste in movies, but no single movie-type ever really stuck to me. I’m thinking back to my adventure in Rotterdam (1973), which surfaced in my memories the other day when I revisited this beautiful city along the Rhine again after ten years.
During this visit (sept.30 .2006) I visited “my first real home”.I have written about that F134334?thread=3676938
(My stay in that house ended, when I and all other occupants, including the landlady and her boyfriend, were kicked out by the judge because of protests of the owner of the house, who lived in the north of Holland.. His perception of things was different from ours.)
Now that I was back again,(sept.30 in 2006), I could find the house pretty quickly. The rooms, the floors, everything was the same as it used to be.
Looking at the building doubt arose in me: “the house stood directly next to the cinema right, and the cinema is one building further. There really is an entire house in between”.
An enigma was born, as nothing had been rebuilt.
There were no big changes to be seen anywhere. On the contrary, everything seemed to have been frozen in time since I left.
“In that case, the changes took place in my head”, I conclude. “But how?”
I give the enigma a minute of my thoughts and after 50 seconds of waiting a bottle of jenever (Dutch gin) vaguely appears before my eyes. The image grows sharp. A brandless bottle of jenever: we used
to call it “a white bottle”, and it was extremely cheap.
“Well, I must have been pretty drunk, because who on earth crawls up into a gutter, in the dead of night, inorder to watch a movie for free?! So thát was it: a bacchanal ending into a visit to the neighbours, via the rooftops.
Around 3 in the morning I openly proposed my plan to my housemates: I was going to climb into the gutter from my own room, and enter the attic window across to watch a movie for free at – very smart – 3 o’clock in the morning.
“I don’t know what movie is showing, but I’ll find that out once I’m there”, I said wisely.
However, when I was executing my plan, my cinema visit turned into a unique movie itself.
A few fellow occupants gave me a push, which enabled me to climb out of the attic window. That felt like my first victory. Next I opened the attic window that was right across mine, and full of faith, lowered myself into it, while curious heads crowded into
my own attic window to see me descend.
“Yeah, I can feel the ceiling”, I cheered in a whisper. Now it was really starting, and it did.
The moment I put all my trust into “the ceiling” beneath me, I plummeted straight down and I heard glass breaking and the screaming of a baby in the next room, who must have felt like it had ended up in a horror movie.
“The ceiling” which I thought to have found in all my euphoria, happened to be the glass of a window in the attic’s floor, which allowed the light of the dormer window to enter through the floor into a room. When determining the thickness of the glass, cinema visitors from the roof ,were clearly not taken into account.
There I stood, in the middle of a shoe room, upright, because no matter what happened that night, I stood upright in all cases. Apparently I had plummeted straight down, into the storage room of a shoe store, while in the next room a baby had started crying…
“How am I supposed to respond to that”, I thought professionally.
In the meantime, the parents of the child came to strongly advice me, after the woman had taken the child out of bed and held it with her. How on earth could I come down via the attic window? “Who does something like that, in the middle of the night?”
For that, I really had a clear explanation. You see, I wanted to hang my laundry to dry, and to do so I had to stand in the gutter. And to keep standing firmly, I had to open their attic room.
“You don’t believe me?” I acted on, “why else would I climb into your attic room? That is totally illogical, right? I just had to hang my laundry to dry!”
“And the ticket that fell out of your pocket, that tells quite a different story, doesn’t it!?” my neighbours concluded, almost good-natured.
“Oh, that’s something that happened a long time ago. I still need to pay it. It really doesn’t have to do anything with this”.
During all this, the baby kept crying imperturbably and we could only “discuss” when it gasped for breath.
“Well”, said the man, “you’re in luck, because we are in the middle of a divorce and because of that, we have enough problems already”.
“I’ll bring you 25 guilders for the broken window tomorrow, because I’m really sorry about that. Could you escort me down now and let me out of the store?” I answered in a sort of gutter-diplomatic language.
“Yes, come with me, I’ll let you out of the store”, was the freeing “The End”.
The next day I went down to our hat store, borrowed 25 guilders of the shop assistant, and, once outside, turned left to directly enter at the neighbours’ shoe store again.
“I’m here to bring 25 guilders for the window as I promised”; I proclaimed to the man in divorce, since a person should be trustworthy.
“All right, that’s settled”, he said, looking at the note.
“Goodbye”, I called, like I was his best customer for years.
A movie was born and it would repeat itself in my dreams many times, although in a little different version.
About once every year, I dream a nightmare with a horror scenario. Imagine I really díd manage to get onto the ceiling of the cinema. That ceiling probably can not take a 70 kg /150 pound weight. Thundering down 6 meters right onto row 14, chair 13??
What would that feel like? Watching a movie for free probably wouldn’t happen anymore.
35 years later, I read in the (national Dutch)Volkskrant (October 2006), that a guy had entered a cinema and had fallen through the ceiling, "which couldn’t take his weight". He didn’t survive to tell his story. Yes, it really was in the paper. Oct. 16, 2006.
Let me be his spokesman: “dear people, something like that hurts. It hurts very much”.
Alfredo, Amsterdam. 2006
PS October 2006 Newspaper;
"Party-animal plummets through ceiling and passes away
Amsterdam – A 21-year-old man has passed away last Sunday morning after falling through a ceiling in a cinema in Amsterdam. The man was attending a dance party in the Heineken Music Hall, when he was removed from the venue for yet unknown reasons. Next the man probably tried to get back to the party via an emergency exit and the staircase of the cinema next door. The ceiling didn’t hold the weight of the man, and so the man crashed down, according to the police on Sunday. The man was found dead at Sunday morning. After investigation the police exclude a crime."
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