Film Fest Friday: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince

My least favorite of the Harry Potter books turned out to be my favorite of the movies thus far. My friend Swamp and I met up with a group of friends in Greensboro. The movie was awesome, but several things about the evening turned out to be sort of disastrous.

On the way, we got lost. Shocking, I know. Especially considering I was driving.


Swamp: “How sure are you that you’re going the right way on this road?”

Me: “About 98.5 percent. It said West Wendover! Isn’t that what I took?”

Swamp: “Um…well…I’m about 99 percent sure we’re headed towards High Point right now.”

Me: “WHAT? So you want me to turn around? Is that what you want me to do?”

Swamp: “It’s up to you. Whatever you want to do.”

He seems pretty sure, so I make a U-turn. He cranes his neck all around, looking for cars speeding towards us that I might have missed.

Me: “You’re doing that thing again.”

Swamp: “What thing?”

Me, laughing: “That looking-for-me thing that my grandfather used to do whenever he was in the passenger seat.”

Swamp: “I’m not looking for you. I’m looking for me. For my own peace of mind.”

Me: “You know what I mean. I think that was what he was doing, too.”

Swamp: “That’s why I like to drive.”

Me: “I hate Greensboro. We’re going to be late. I don’t want Jenny to miss the previews. She can’t stand missing the previews.”

Swamp: “Me too. And I hate Winston, and High Point, and Kernersville. This is why I just want to be out at Sandy Ridge and not have to deal with this crap. But you know, there’s your problem. You went into it thinking, ‘I hate Greensboro.’ And look what happened.”

Me: “Hey — at least we’re consistent. It wouldn’t be a real trip for us if we didn’t have to turn around and go the other way at least once.”

He cuts icy eyes at me, smirking.


It turned out that the theater had sold tickets to showings in two theaters, when they were really only playing it in one. So we were really lucky to get seats at all. Jenny tried to complain, but the theater staff was totally unapologetic and couldn’t have cared less. The seats we did end up getting went from bad to worse, and we didn’t all get to sit together. We already have plans to see it again at a matinee just so we don’t have to crane our necks. I can’t wait until the next one! And will be sad when they run out of story to film.

On the way home we drove into a huge thunderstorm. One of the things that produces the most anxiety in me, besides driving in Greensboro of course, is driving in storms. I’m talking near panic-attack levels. I feel a loss of control because I can’t see anything. Pretty understandable, I think. If someone else is driving, I’m fine. As soon as the rain starts thundering down on the windshield, I make a small nasal whine, like a worried puppy, determined not to say anything or react. I. Can. Do. This. I can, I tell myself. I’m not going to freak out.


Swamp: “It’s not much farther to our exit. Ooh! Check out that lightning! Awesome! This is a good storm!”

Me, trying to contain myself: “I wonder if there’s a tornado warning. It’s pretty windy.”

Swamp: “I don’t think you have to worry about tornadoes tonight.”

Me: “But I always worry about tornadoes.”

Swamp: “I know.”

Me, with increasingly labored breathing: “You know I don’t like driving in storms.”

Swamp: “I know you don’t. And I’m sorry you are having to right now. But it will be over soon, I promise. Look, there’s the exit now.”

I can’t see anything. This road is like a black mirror. I can’t see any lines on it. I don’t know which lane I’m in. My headlights are useless. My eyes are useless. We approach the last intersection with a stoplight, and I carefully circumnavigate a huge lake of water pooling out into the road. I don’t want to hydroplane and wreck my car. I just got it out of the shop. I’m not taking it back for this crap.

Swamp, snickering at my cautiousness: “Man, if I had been driving — especially if I was in my truck — I would have plowed straight into that puddle and made the water splash up really high and tried to hydroplane!”

Me, rolling my eyes: “Yeah, you are WAY cooler than me.” My panting is starting to slow. I’ve made it this far, and now he’s just pissing me off. Also, I know he is overexaggerating his thrill-seeking.

Swamp: “Well, that must mean I’m cooler than I thought, because YOU are REALLY cool. I mean, you’re like the coolest girl.”

I’m laughing now — snorting, actually — and it’s not making it any easier to see the road. Swamp is laughing too, but trying not to show it.

Swamp: “What?! You are! You and me, we’re like the two coolest people on the PLANET! It’s kind of unbelievable how cool we are. Do you want me to start listing reasons?”

Me, still laughing, “Sorry, to the people behind me who are riding my ass. It’s raining and I can’t see, and I don’t know this road like the back of my hand like you do.”

Swamp: “Hey — you’re going the speed limit. You’re doing fine. Nothing to worry about. Look, here’s our turn.”

As soon as we turn in, the rain slows to intermittent splats of fat raindrops. I feel elated, relieved — better than the adrenaline rush of being in the storm. I inhale slowly and exhale a long, long sigh through pursed lips. This test is over. You have passed. Thanks, coach.



  1. Davis said,

    July 24, 2009 at 4:25 am

    I just hope the crowds have dwindled enough that I can find a seat this weekend

  2. Aaron Lesher said,

    July 28, 2009 at 3:32 am

    It’s amazing how you can remember such detail. I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast this morning.

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