Do let me tell you the story of when I first saw "The Silence of the Lambs." No one in our lab where I worked had an idea of what it was about, except maybe series killers, so we were all excited. It was a perfect Indian summer in 1992 I believe, and I had no idea that in 2 years my life would be flipped like a pancake by health issues. As needs must, a neurological ailment takes the life out of you.
On with the tale. A handsome colleague surprised me with an offer of a movie after our Saturday shift. In a lab where you set up blood work slides, examine specimens and prepare tests, there are no "weekends", because specimens can corrupt and I worked many a Saturday or Sunday when called for. Alex and I were through that Saturday around noon after 4 hours of monotonous blood counts, and set off in his incredible 1969 blue Mustang - which increased his appeal 10-fold. "Ah Woman, how shallow, how fickle..." Actually I enjoyed Alex and his chess stories. He was exceptionally good.
We drove to Maplewood, where I lived, to the tony part of town where a small comfy theater sat in the middle of the square. I noticed a line, which was unusual, and after we parked and walked closer, we saw there were two movies playing, "Sleeping With the Enemy" and "The Silence of the Lambs". Alex looked at me quizzically and I instantly crinkled my nose in distaste, to answer his implied "Do you want to see Julia Roberts?" I just couldn't warm up to the lady. Besides, there was gory guts in store and who could resist that, I ask you? We grabbed a spot in line and waited, chatting about how great it was listening to jazz while playing chess.
When we arrived at the window, I was ahead of Alex and had been talking with him a great deal - my mind wasn't focused on what I was doing exactly, and I didn't take in many movies. So when the ticketeer asked which movie, I said "Two for Sleeping with the Lambs please." Said it nice and loud. Enunciated very well. Couldn't mistake a word. "Sleeping with the Lambs." That's what I said. That's what everyone around us heard.
That's what Alex heard.
If a hole opened in the ground I would've jumped in. People were laughing and I was beet-red with embarrassment as I realized my faux pas. Worse, it made me look the fool in front of Alex - he of the pretty face and great vintage car. Strange folks were smiling at me and though I smiled back it was one of those moments where all you want is a handful of magic disappearing dust you can sprinkle on yourself.
"Oh silly me, look what I said, hahaha," was about all I could manage. Sleeping with the enemy, The Silence of the lambs - and I managed to scramble them both into a melange of idiocy called "Sleeping with the lambs." So I'm standing there waiting for our tickets when I hear a voice from the window:
"Well which movie did you want?" Her grin was more a bored smirk, to my mind.
"Oh yes, well - I'm sorry, yes okay, I want Silence of the Lambs - lambs, yes - two of them - silence, lambs. That's what I want - two, please. Lambs. Silence. Yes. That's it." I was sounding like a loony bird.
When we found our seats in the dark, Alex leaned over and whispered something about sheep farmers in New Zealand but I didn't really hear him, I was busy feeling stupid. The movie was very well-done, I thought, except a few things which would never have happened, like the FBI using a recruit to track a series killer. But it was Hollywood, so suspending belief I was able to enjoy each gripping moment and in fact, on this computer, Dr. Lecter himself welcomes me and let's me know I have mail.
"Hey you've got mail, goody goody" he says in that superbly horrifying voice.
But it's Alex's voice I'll always remember of that day, which became a bit softer at work and his mannerisms a bit more relaxed, because he thought I'd mis-spoke on purpose. He thought I had a fine sense of humor, was very witty. It was more a fine sense of stupidity, but I'll never tell.