Marquee Mishaps and Eerie Events

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Do you know what it’s like to climb a ten-foot ladder outside in the middle of winter, when it’s snowing outside? And then screw everything up so you have to spend twice as long as usual outside? Because I do. Last night was brutal. If it wasn’t enough that I had four movies to put up this week – about twice as much work as usual – I managed to screw up almost every single task I had to do in some way or another. It was ridiculous. But let me give you a rundown of the night, and perhaps you’ll feel in some small way the immense torture that I inflicted on myself.

The first part of the night actually wasn’t too bad. I drove in, and the weather didn’t look too bad or anything. It was slightly cold outside, which obviously isn’t unusual for winter, but I came prepared, because, well, I knew I was going to be outside. Duh. Other than that, it seemed to be shaping up to be a good night. It wasn’t overly cold or really windy or anything. Other than having to put up four movies, things looked pretty good. I went upstairs and got a whole bunch of posters. I actually spent like twenty minutes up there trying to find what I needed – because on top of having to find four movie posters, I also had three posters that I needed to replace because they were coming out. You know, move them from “Coming Soon” to “Now Playing.” But when I do that, I need to find three more upcoming movies. And I don’t want to put up stupid movies, so it takes a bit of time to find them. Anyways, I came back downstairs with an armful of posters and got to work at rubber-cementing the little labels to them and such. First problem: we didn’t have enough “Now Playing” labels. That meant that I would have to put them on when I took the other ones down near the end of the night. Oh well. That wasn’t a big deal.

Fast-forward to about 9:30 PM. I was putting on my coat to go outside, and Mike (the manager) was talking about how it seemed to be a pretty good night to do it. I agreed with him, just mentioning that it was kind of cold, but then he said, “Yeah, but at least it’s not snowing or anything like that.” I agreed again, and then went outside to find a shopping cart like I usually do – it makes it a lot easier to carry the ladder out to the sign and such. I opened the outside door, and then the significance of Mike’s words hit me – he was right, it wasn’t raining. No sir, not raining at all. It was snowing. The irony of it all. Oh well. In all fairness, I’ve done marquee in worse weather. There was that one week where it was freezing cold, snowing, and windy. I had to get Scott to hold the ladder for me, and when we were done and came back in, we stood around for about ten or fifteen minutes just warming up. It burned when I blew on my hands. That was a rough night. Anyways, so I attempted to look on the bright side, and went around my business. With the four movies coming out, I had to make a few adjustments to my usual routine. There’s a little bucket thing that I put the letters in for the sign. We need three sets of the movie titles – one for each side of the outside sign, and then one set for the sign inside. With four movies, however, I could only fit two sets of each in it – and that was pushing it. So I had the bucket packed full, plus about a four-inch stack of letters on top of that. Craziness. Anyways, I just decided to come and get the rest of the letters when I did the sign inside. It was no big deal. So outside I went and got to work.

I wheeled the ladder out to the sign on the shopping cart, and was just about to pick it up, when I looked up at the sign. That’s when it hit me – I didn’t think to look at which movies we were losing. So I didn’t know which ones to take down. I had to go around the mall to the front doors and run back into the theatre, write down the movies we were getting rid of, and then go back outside. Sheesh. Oh well, that was just a simple mistake, and it didn’t take too long to correct. I got up there and finished one side of the sign, and then got up onto the ladder to do the other side. As I stood about nine feet off the ground, I realized something that was quite important: I had two sets of Final Destination 3 and no sets of Firewall. And I kind of needed one of each. I thought it was kind of strange, so as I stood on the ladder, I sorted through the entire bucket looking for that Firewall title. Of course, by this time, all the movies I had taken down were mixed in, so it took a bit longer to sort through them. No luck. Firewall just wasn’t in there. Quite frustrated by this point, I ran back around to the front doors of the mall and into the theatre, and then grabbed the letters I needed from the pile of letters I needed for the sign inside. I didn’t care about what I was going to do for that sign – I’d rather sort through it inside than out in the cold on the top of a ladder. So I went back outside and put up the movies on the second side of the sign. As I put up Final Destination 3 something started to bug me. It seemed to me that it didn’t really feel like I had put up that movie before. I mean, it had a number in it, and those are kind of annoying to put up, so I thought I would have remembered it. Then it hit me – what if I had put up two sets of Firewall on the first side of the sign? Ugh.

I finished up the second side, came down the ladder and went to the first side. Sure enough, there were two sets of title Firewall up there, and Final Destination 3 nowhere to be found. By this time I wanted to drop-kick something, preferably something to do with myself for screwing the whole thing up so badly. I mean, if the extra work with four movies wasn’t enough, I was creating even more work for myself by messing stuff up and having to fix it. Anyways, I grabbed the other set of Final Destination 3, which thankfully I had thought to bring back out with me (I had taken it in with me when looking for Firewall), and quickly switched the two. Then I went inside. Still fuming over my mistakes, I put the ladder on the shopping cart, not thinking that I should have put the bucket of letters in first. I realized it soon after that, and then, not really caring by that point, I tried to hold the letters in the bucket as I tipped it sideways and put it in between the rungs of the ladder. That didn’t work out so well. But as I said, I’d rather sort it out inside than out in the cold and the snow. I did so, and got to work changing the inside sign.

By this time it was about 10:30 PM, which is about half an hour later than I usually do the inside sign at. Most times I’m done everything and out of there by 10:30, and last night I was still changing the stupid sign. Ugh. Anyways, that sign wasn’t too hard to do, except that I realized that I only had one L in Firewall. I had no clue where that could have gone – with the method I use to spell out the letters, it’d be pretty hard to have missed it – so I just grabbed an L from one of the movie titles coming down. I finished everything up and climbed down the ladder – and then saw the L, sitting in the shopping cart. A big sigh escaped my lips as I picked it up and just threw it in the bucket.

The only thing I had left to do was switch the posters. This is by far the easiest part of the night; never fear, though. I still managed to screw this up too. As I previously mentioned, there weren’t enough “Now Playing” labels. So I grabbed two posters that were already up, took them down and took off the labels on them. I then put them on the remaining two posters that I needed labels for. That’s when I realized that I still needed one of the posters that I had just taken down. It was one of the ones that was still going to continue to play. So I had to go grab another poster, and then take that label and use it. By this time I was ready to just rip up all the posters, run out screaming and flailing my arms, and then check myself into a mental institution somewhere. Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately) I decided to control myself, and then I finished up switching the posters. I finished up at about 11:45 PM. That’s horrible. I mean, I’m scheduled from 8:30-11:30, and I usually sign out at 10:30 because I’m done. Last night I was late. On top of that, Mike had asked me to sort through some old posters if I had some extra time. He understood if I couldn’t, since he knew that I was going to have extra work because of the four movies, but I was still planning on doing that. At the end of the night, I apologized for not getting around to that, and he said it was fine. Then I grabbed my stuff and got out of there as quickly as possible. I got home, quietly got ready for bed, and then flopped into said bed. I looked at the clock and it read 12:00. I would say that it was good timing, but nothing is good timing at that point.

So that was my night last night. It was brutal. I normally like marquee shifts – not last night, though. So today, I’m kind of tired. I guess it’s a good thing I only had one class, then. During second period they had a hypnotist come in and do some stuff. He had people up on stage and doing funny stuff. I went into the gym wanting to see it, more to figure out what exactly goes on than anything else. I mean, the stuff he did was funny, but at the same time it was kind of creepy. I’m still not sure about the whole thing. I mean, I’ve heard people say that it’s perfectly harmless, and then there are people who are convinced that it’s a form of demon possession. Myself? I really don’t know. I want to look into the subject a bit more. I can just say right now, though, that I would never volunteer for it. It’s just…weird. But anyways, that’s about all I have to say, so I’ll finish off this paragraph and then be done with it. Have a good one.

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