Sometimes I Go to the Movie Theater By Myself
Sometimes I go to the movie theater by myself. I’m almost ashamed to admit it. It sounds lonely, just seeing it written.
I’ve admitted this occasional part of my life to a few close friends, who then react as friends should, with quiet support and proclamations that they’ve done it too. But secretly I’m afraid when I leave the room they talk about how I need to get laid. Maybe they’re right.
I started my solitary ventures to the theater when I got to college. I may have done it once or twice in high school, but when I began my undergraduate studies I didn’t know a single soul in the city I was in, and I often would find myself on the bus, off to the local movie theater to see something I wanted to see. It was more circumstantial that I didn’t have anyone with me, and it didn’t bother me. But I dreaded the possibility of running into someone I knew at the theater, potentially raising the question, ‘Who are you here with?’ ‘No one, I’m here with no one.’
Some of my favorite films I’ve seen by myself in the theater. A few months ago I saw Blue Valentine; it was brilliant. Just last week I saw The King’s Speech. Beautifully regal. There is an indie theater a few miles from where I live where I’ve seen a handful of fantastic films, mostly by myself. And trust me, I have my own perception of it that I tell to other people: ‘Well I wouldn’t be talking to anyone anyway, right?’ The few times I’ve seen a movie as the sole person in the theater have been therapeutic. I disappear from the world and treat myself to what I imagine is my personal home theater. I usually get high in my car right before the movie starts.
Last week when I saw The King’s Speech, I first thought it was going to be one of those lonely theater experiences. The previews were starting, and there I was with my popcorn and Diet Coke all alone with no one else around. This will be wonderful. My own private viewing of the Oscar-bedazzled film about speech impediments and politics, with easily the best seat in the house. (I like the back more, but not the very back).
Then two lovebirds came in. We acknowledged each other’s silhouettes and as I said to myself, ‘What the fuck are these people doing here?’ they were just as likely saying, ‘What the fuck is this guy doing here?’ And they sat relatively close to me, about two rows behind. What douche bags – that’s against the rules. Nonetheless, I went home afterwards satisfied with my early afternoon.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going to movies with other people. I promise I’m not as dark as all the aforementioned makes me out to be. Unless that’s your thing, in which case I am that dark.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”