I try, at least once a summer, to escape to a dark place, where the likelihood of running into someone (even slightly) somewhat contributes to my naughty behavior. I actually prefer a bright sunny day, which again possibly minimizes the chance of an encounter with an acquaintance or more. I tell no one and I enter quietly and get my preordered ticket and seat (usually third row, third seat from the left), I put my small popcorn (with some of that erzatz butter crap on a little bit of the top), a pack of either peanut M&Ms or swedish fish, and a large water to the left and right of me. I want to sit alone and not share my treasure trove of a mix of sweet, salty and water to flush it down. It is a perfect system. I also bring in my own packet of kleenex, wet wipes, and lip gloss in case the popcorn is too salty. I settle in to my cushy, reclining seat which I have a modicum of difficulty adjusting. It’s like a rental car that you have to see it’s own quirks, and although you know how to drive, you need to adjust to your comfort, and so I do. Smooth leather type seats with broad cushioned arms. I always travel with a jacket which can act like an afghan because the theater is usually cold. I have made myself to home ,as my grandmother would have said. I now have two hours to focus on nothing but the cheesiest and simple story in front of me. My favorite part are the previews for the upcoming movies. The intensity of the of story gets me and I cry at the trailer (hence the kleenex). I also know I won’t see it because I figure it out in the four minutes they show. The guy leaves the woman and she dies and he keeps seeing her but what he doesn’t know is that she had a twin sister and there is revenge….why should I spoil it for you. There is something about the previews during the summer for the movies coming in fall, that seem like they belong on the must see list compared to the idiotic, sophomoric movies of summer. A summer movie is pure cheese, with little to think about and a everything works out ending well. You definitely leave (after the outtakes, since those are the funniest parts), and walk into the intensely bright sunlight and think “That was awful!” but you laughed,and it was a great way to spend a summer afternoon, thinking about drivel and nonsense, as you take a piece of salty, buttery-ish popcorn, followed by two peanut M&Ms, a swig of water, and repeat. Simple and necessary to keep the world at bay. Sharing the theater with a total of seven more people was just fine. No interaction, actually not much laughter, but a few chuckles in the distance. Not much distraction, just mindfulness at the movies. It doesn’t pretend to be any more than it is.
Growing up with the concept that I was wasting time not doing what was on the to do list, was a constraint created by adults who felt it was important to impart this message. I don’t believe it was based in anything as profound as life is short, accomplish much, but rather a work ethic based in what was believed to be important and my destiny. In my own defense, I absolutely work hard, juggle several obligations and feel tired, more mentally at the end of a day. However, play (whatever form it takes, be it an afternoon movie, or nap or reading something fluffy or cooking some food for the soul) is equally necessary. Alone time is also vital to the quality of the time you spend with others. Despite my life long work as a social worker, I recognize that I am more solitary and introverted and cherish the quiet time, often alone or with my FHB. In the chaos that we experience daily, in our own lives or watching the world, solitude is a necessary strategy. I recognize with the ability to be available 24/7 through social media, cell phones and house phones and faxes and doorbells(okay, I don’t actually have a doorbell),we are “on call” to react or respond to whatever seems to require some attention, be it a who or a what. Sometimes, it just is too much, too loud, too demanding. Those are the moments, I take cover in a dark movie theater, just me and the popcorn, etc. It is effective, albeit a short term solution, as the cell is off, the chair is in the reclining position and all is right with the world. I recommend it.