We went to the cinema last night, to see “The Killer Inside Me“. The acting was good, not much of a story, a couple of brutal beating scenes, and the dreaded mumbled dialogue so particular to American films. Why can’t they open their mouths and speak properly? It was only thanks to the French sub-titles that we understood most of what was being said.
But the main thing is this: a warning.
As is so often the case with English-language films shown at the multi-screen cinemas in Poitiers, the room was almost empty. Just one couple, sitting about half-way down the room. We sat in the last row but one, because I find if we sit any nearer in these small theatres, I have difficulty in seeing the screen properly. Just before the film started, two young males (yoofs) arrived, and asked me which film was showing. I told them, and they sat down in the back row, immediately behind us.
I had a large shoulder bag with me. It’s a scruffy but practical canvas thing, and contained, amongst other things, my wallet and my iPod. I put it on the floor by my feet. TOH had bought a bag of jelly sweets, and after the film had been running for five minutes and we’d eaten a few, he handed me the packet and asked me to put it in my bag. I reached down, but couldn’t find the bag. I felt to the left and right, then stood up and peered under our seats and those in front. No bag. Then I turned and looked over the back of the seat, and there it was, having gravitated one metre away, up an incline, where it lay on the floor between the two young males behind us, who, somewhat mysteriously, were now sitting three seats apart from each other. They looked startled as I leant over the seat and reached for the bag, and one of them stuttered: “Oh, is this yours?” He picked it up and handed it to me.
I immediately rummaged through it and checked that the iPod and my wallet were still there, and no cards had been taken from my wallet. But it had been a close thing. If we’d had ice cream instead of sweeties, I’m absolutely certain that by the time I discovered my bag was missing, it would have been far too late to do anything about it. Poitiers is generally a quiet and safe city, where you can walk around without fear of being mugged or threatened. Maybe that’s why I had let down my guard, something that I’d never do in London, or Paris, or any large city. But I learnt that you’re not immune to opportunists wherever you may be.
We moved to sit further away; a little while afterwards, the two yoofs quietly stood up and disappeared.
Talking of Poitiers, yesterday was the day on which the new traffic system was being implemented. No longer could we drive our normal, simple, direct route to the cinema. Instead cheerful men in fluorescent tabards, backed up by stout metal railings, forced the traffic through narrow back roads and even narrower alleys, and at every corner there were “No left turn”, “No right turn, and “No straight ahead” signs. It became a magical mystery tour, visiting areas we had never known existed. Very interesting, quite exciting, too, because together with a large number of other vehicles, we had no idea where we were, or how to get to where we wanted to be. Rue Carnot had completely changed direction, and many town centre roads weren’t accessible to vehicles at all.
I’m sure that once it all settles down, and the tabards and railings have disappeared, order will be restored. But last night at 9.00 pm it was reminiscent of one of those horror films when panicked people are desperately trying to escape some impending disaster.