I did something today that I've never done before.
I went to the theater alone.
As much as I try to be the free thinker, I'm often sucked into the popular beliefs of the society around me. In my world, it's always been suggested that people should see movies in theaters while in the company of other people. Okay, so no one actually suggested that. After all, that'd be a silly rule to make --
"Now, Tommy, brush your teeth, wear clean underwear & never go to the movies alone."
Yet, it's certainly the practice to go to the movies with others. Over the years, it managed to cross the line from a practice to a full-fledged rule. For some reason, I have always viewed watching movies alone as I did drinking alone -- as both sad & lonely. Perhaps I was wrong... just a bit.
The reason I broke my old rule was a good one. It was almost exactly three months ago that I mentioned a movie called "My Life Without Me" (trailer). I lamented that although I wanted to see it, it would probably never show up in Franklin. It turns out that I was wrong. I noticed a listing for it today at the local indy theater. It was for one week only and the showing began last Friday. I'll be out of town tomorrow, Thursday & Friday. I'm working Tuesday. So, my only shot was today. I wanted to take someone. I didn't want to go alone. But I wanted to see this movie more.
I was the last of four people to enter the room. A couple of guys sat near the back. A single female took a chair about 1/4 into the theater up against a far wall. I found an aisle seat right near the halfway mark. It felt odd. I had no one to complain to about the 64 degree temperature. I had no one to ask exactly how many trailers we were going to have to watch before it began. I had no one to play off of. It was just me in a sea of empty chairs.
The floor was plenty slanted. I could have been seven-foot tall and would not have obstructed the view of those behind me. However, I felt like everyone was watching me. When I slouched. When I shifted to my right ass cheek. When I shifted to my left ass cheek because my right one went numb. When sat as erect as I could because both ass cheeks went to sleep. When leaned on my left arm. When I leaned on my right arm. Every move I made was being watched, or so I thought. I guess that's because I had no one next to me to focus on. The only people in my mind were those three folks behind me.
About halfway through the movie, I was distracted by a thought and missed a piece of dialogue. I didn't have anyone to ask, "what did he say?" There were a handful of scenes where I thought some hidden meaning may have been laid. I didn't have anyone if they saw it, too. When I left, I wondered about the movie. In many ways, it seemed scripted and predictable. Yet, it was compelling. It skirted reality in a few places but found a way to hit home in others.
When I walked into the theatre, the sky was a sharp & clear hue of blue. When I came out, the sky was covered in huge chunks of clouds -- all with dark, ominous soles. I remarked about how quickly everything can change. There was no one there to hear me.
In all of those ways, my solo trip to the cinema was a lonely thing. Of course, I did enjoy myself. I enjoyed the movie. Seeing it was on my "to do" list and I'm glad I can mark that off. It also gave a little purpose to an afternoon that might very well have lacked one. So, maybe going to the movies by yourself isn't all bad. I'm willing to veto the rule of never going alone, but I'm guessing that it will stick around as a very common practice.