Sunday, June 2, 2019

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head

...or, how I wound up in a stranger's sweatshirt.

It's not like I didn't check the forecast before I left the house. I did: partly cloudy all day, but little chance of rain. Instead of doing my usual river walk, I opted to walk west, drop off my rent at my landlord's house and continue the two blocks to the Byrd Theater for a morning screening of "Mrs. Doubtfire."

I'm not sure why the Robin Williams classic spoke to me this morning (especially for a Family Classics screening guaranteed to be full of brats), except that I knew I'd be in the neighborhood, I hadn't seen it since it came out in 1993 and the overcast sky made it feel like a good movie morning. It really was that simple.

Crossing the street from Monroe Park to the Cathedral of the Scared Heart, it was obvious something big was going on. Every few feet, I saw a young man in a black suit and clergy collar, usually with family fawning over him and taking snaps. It was like I'd stumbled into seminarians' graduation day at the cathedral or something.

Leaving those crazy enough to devote their lives to a made-up person to their deluded fantasies, I persevered down Floyd Avenue only to have the sky open up on me somewhere after Harrison Street. At first it was just a gentle drizzle, then a shower and before long, a deluge. So that was me, the woman in the sun hat and sunscreen - running in white rivulets down my arms and legs - slogging along the next two miles, dropping off her rent check and lumbering on.

And while it wasn't unpleasant rain because it was warm, I knew that the second I sat down in the theater's air conditioning, I was going to freeze my patootie off. So I arrived with a plan: raid the lost and found for a cover-up to tide me through the movie.

Fortunately for me, there was a pale green men's XXL "Salty Dog Cafe Hilton Head, S.C." sweat shirt languishing in the lost and found and the ticket taker (whom I know from so many Byrd visits) was only too happy to loan it to me for a few hours. In fact, she first gave me the option of a stylish women's sweater, but given that the sweatshirt was thick and as long as my dresses, I knew it would be the warmer, cozier choice.

I also warned her that if it was raining when the movie ended, I'd be "retrieving" (wink, wink) the umbrella I'd left there. She said I was welcome to help myself.

So I remove my dripping sun hat, don the sweatshirt and ask the guy at the concession stand for a bottle of water. He'd noticed I'd come in soggy wet, soaked to the skin, and now he's telling me how lucky I am that I'd left my sweatshirt at the Byrd to reclaim it this rainy morning. Silly boy. I explain that it isn't mine and that I'm merely borrowing it for a bit. "That's pretty cool!" he enthuses.

That's what we call problem-solving, son. Try it sometime.

Then I head off to find a seat nowhere near any gaggles of small children. Taking one, I hang my soggy hat upside down to drip-dry, remove my wet shoes and place the bottle of water in the cup-holder on my right. But when I go to put my ticket stub in the cup-holder on my left, I see that there are already two ticket stubs there from Wednesday's one night only screening of the 1972 reggae classic, "The Harder They Come" with Jimmy Cliff.

That's when I realize that I have chosen the exact same row where I sat Wednesday to see "The Harder They Come" and those are my stubs, which I clearly forgot to throw away. Talk about being a creature of habit. That said, it was probably because of how much I'd enjoyed the reggae film with its unintelligible Jamaican patois that begged for subtitles and fabulous soundtrack that the stubs had been forgotten.

Since I'd never been to a Family Classics performance, I wasn't expecting the classic Warner Bros. cartoon - Foghorn Leghorn battling with a youthful chicken hawk - that kicked off the screening. Just as surprising was the organist rising from the bowels of the Byrd to play a handful of movie themes like "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" before disappearing again.

So much entertainment on a Saturday morning.

About all I recalled of "Mrs. Doubtfire" was the premise and Robin Williams' vacuuming to Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady." Hell, I hadn't even been to San Francisco yet when I first saw the movie, so that part couldn't have resonated the first time.

Mainly the film was a treat for all the improvisation Williams does throughout and that's not even counting the scenes where Harvey Fierstein is applying his make-up for the first time and they're invoking "Fiddler on the Roof" and Barbra Streisand in what amounts to a comedy routine.

Truly, he was a once in a lifetime genius.

As luck would have it, when I exited the Byrd after peeling off the stranger's sweatshirt and without a "borrowed" umbrella, it was to somewhat sunny skies.

And you know I'm never gonna stop the rain by complaining. Nothing's bothering me.

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