The other night my husband and I had a rare babysitter-fueled evening and fled the house in search of mindless cinematic entertainment. The Expendables was comically bad, but delivered pretty much exactly what it promised: a metric ton of aging action-star mayhem, and even a cameo appearance by Ah-nold himself (whose wrinkled neck reminds us that time spares no man, even The Terminator).
It was maybe the loudest movie I've seen in recent memory, not just the gunfire and overly dramatic music meant to remind us that in case the visuals didn't drive the point home, there was some ACTION happening right now, BY GOD—but also enormous concussive booms as various things exploded over and over and over again. The Expendables was the sort of movie you hope isn't in the adjoining theater when you watch that artistic French masterpiece featuring lots of lingering silent stares, because it was so relentlessly noisome it actually shook the floors.
Throughout the entire 103 minutes, not including the twenty-plus minutes of extra-loud previews, a couple sat directly behind us, the woman holding a small baby in her arms.
Now, I try not to be a judging sort of person when it comes to parenting choices, but when I saw them enter the theater and peer around for seats I elbowed my husband and hissed, "Oh my god, what are they thinking?" When they settled in the row behind us, I sank lower in my seat and glowered at the screen, imagining the scene—surely any moment now—when the baby would awaken and issue forth a series of unhappy shrieks, unsettled at being in the middle of what appeared to be a small world war.
That baby never made a peep, not even during the last fifteen minutes or so when the producers decided to use up the last of their pyrotechnics budget in a seemingly endless scene of destruction, which was so over the top I actually wished I'd brought earplugs.
The couple ushered themselves out as they'd entered: calm, unhurried, the mom now carrying the baby in a sling, while I gaped openly and thought about how I would have never have taken either of my babies to a movie theater, not for a million dollars and an all-day spa session. Even if they would have slept the whole time—which I guess upon further reflection isn't as unlikely as it initially seemed, they both seemed soothed by noises like car engines and vacuums when they were little—I wouldn't have been able to pay attention to the movie one bit. I would have perched there in my seat nervously gripping the child like a live grenade, rigid with anticipation over the first squeak, ready to flee at top speed.
So that's what my choice was, and this couple chose differently. This couple didn't let the fear of what might go wrong stop them from enjoying something that had probably been a big part of their pre-baby lifestyle. They were probably smart enough to know that very small babies are essentially snorfling, pooping handbags, much more suitable for smuggling into an R-rated shoot-em-up than, say, a 2-year-old. They probably had a plan: if the baby woke up and cried, they'd leave. Easy-peasy.
I still think they were a little crazy, to be honest. But I also kind of envy their balls.
What do you think, was that a bizarre thing to do, or no big deal? Would you take your infant to a (non-kid-oriented, meaning, no other kids in the audience) movie?