by Michele Linder
I boarded my flight from Atlanta to Munich at around 4:00 in the afternoon. Thirty-five hours since leaving the house for the airport the previous morning. I was tired. So tired, I informed the flight attendant that I intended to sleep in lieu of the evening meal.
I made my breakfast choice from the menu, inserted my ear plugs, positioned my sleeping mask, and once the plane was in the air I reclined my seat into sleeping position.
More than halfway into my flight I awoke. I was hungry. I grabbed a banana from the galley on my way back from using the restroom and returned to my seat.
“Maybe I’ll watch a movie.”, I thought to myself.
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“About Time” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“All is Lost” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“August: Osage County” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“The Book Thief” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“Ender’s Game” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“Frozen” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“Nebraska” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
“Jane Eyre” wasn’t showing with English subtitles.
As it turns out, none of the movies I wanted to see had English subtitles. The only subtitle choices were for translation purposes. There existed no Subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) at all.
The only foreign movie I found, out of several, with English subtitles had a plot so lame I felt as if it was intellectually insulting to continue to watch, so I didn’t.
I wound up watching “Gravity”, without sound or subtitles, simply because I knew there wasn’t much dialogue in the movie, and I wanted to see the parts I had missed — I had seen it at the theater when it first came out, but missed a good portion of the beginning due to a malfunctioning CaptiView device that necessitated that I walk out of the auditorium, to the lobby, to inform the staff that my device wasn’t working, and then waiting until someone brought another working device to my seat a good five minutes later. I got a coupon for a free movie.
Once “Gravity” finished, I watched an old favorite, “Notting Hill”, a movie I had seen at least a dozen times. I knew the plot.
I only took pictures of the first ten movies I checked. In searching, I spanned several genres hoping that I’d stumble upon something with English subtitles or captions. No such luck, and let me tell you that it’s not easy to access the subtitling information… you have to go a few clicks in to see your choices. There’s no way to search the list of available movies by subtitling, closed captioning, or even language.
Let’s just say I was wide awake with frustration by the time I gave up and began watching “Gravity”. The whole experience left me feeling defeated.
If there ever was a time in my life that I wished I knew Chinese, it was then.