It was during the movie Titanic. I went, somewhat eagerly, to see what all the hoopla was about. This was early 1998 and Titanic had just won a whole slew of Oscars.
I buy myself a small size drink - small because I didn't want to get up and run to the bathroom during the movie and a medium size box of popcorn.
I am there early, about ten to fifteen minutes before the start, just so that I can get a good seat. I watch as the theatre slowly begins to fill. People move up the aisles, glancing first at the screen then at the seat they are going to sit in. Some may not think this, but choosing a seat is the most important and difficult part of the movie going experience. Choose the wrong one and you'll be regretting it for the entire movie. So arriving early is crucial.
During this time the sweet aroma of the popcorns bombard my senses. I take one, then two, and then three and before you know it I am enjoying them even before the movie begins. The commercials come up, then the expected trailers and then finally the main attraction.
By this time my box is half empty and my drink nearly finished. I gulp the last drops as the opening credits roll.
The movie is slow but I don't mind, I know that it picks up as the ship is supposed to break in half and then sink (thank you, Internet Movie Data Base).
Then something unexpected happens. A piece of popcorn gets stuck in the back of my throat. I reach for the drink and realize its empty. I try to conjure up some spit. Nothing. My mouth is dry. The popcorn had sucked up all the saliva. Now this tiny piece has become a big problem. It's irritating and agitating my throat.
I try to cough, or make a gurgling noise, but realize this is not the right time. Up on the screen Rose (Kate Winslet) has decided to jump off the ship and Jack (Leonardo Di Caprio) is persuading her not too. Let me say, this is probably the quietest scene in the entire movie. There is no background music, no special effects, no loud anything. It consists only of dialogue between the two actors and the slow (far away) sound of frigid water splashing.
I'm sure this scene is not that long but when you have an intruder that you cannot get out with your tongue stuck in the back of your mouth, this seems like an eternity.
I plead to the screen. Jack, let her jump. Let her make some noise. It's only water. Once I get this popcorn out I'll save her.
But that would not be. He would not let her jump.
So I decide to get up, apologize for stepping on people's toes, and make my way to the bathroom.
Just as I'm about to do this I feel this wetness underneath my tongue. Oh, sweet dribble. I quickly suck in and wash the culprit down. I can't explain the relief I felt. It was as if I was the king of the world.
Then I proceed to enjoy the rest of the movie, which I found a bit too long and a bit too long. And of course, I do so without eating any more popcorn.
Moral of the story: No popcorns unless Jack is willing to shove Rose overboard.