It’s been a while since I’ve been to an actual brick-and mortar theater to see a movie. I start feeling hemmed-in, similar to the claustrophobic feeling I get on a commercial airline jet. Many movies aren’t sufficiently enthralling to keep me riveted to my seat. I get restless, but hate to disturb other people in the row of seats by getting up and making an escape.
I prefer watching DVDs on my laptop, but I prefer reading even more. My imagination can provide an immersive experience which makes most computer-generated effects pale in comparison.
Back when Betsy and I were first married we would occasionally take in a movie at a budget theater in downtown Quincy, Illinois. One time we were watching a movie in that theater, and I had completely lost interest in the thinly-plotted story-line. I got up and found one of the exit doors. The door locked behind me. I walked around outside for a while, then attempted to re-enter the theater’s front door. It was locked! I later learned that many theaters lock the front door during the last showing of the night.
So I had an hour to kill out on the deserted streets of Quincy at about eleven at night. I walked around the block, then around an adjacent block. As I approached the theater again I saw a man standing on the street corner. As I got closer to him I saw that he was shabbily dressed, wore a driving cap, and was clutching a dark pint bottle in his hand.
I said to him “So what are you up to this fine summer night?”
“Oh, hi, so someone else is out on the streets tonight. I’m medicating my soul with this fine port!”
“So you have an ailing soul, eh?”
“Yup. I tend towards melancholy, and a bit o’ port keeps the bad memories at bay. Want some?”
I don’t like cheap port, but out of politeness I took a small sip from his bottle, wondering about the possibility of catching a communicable disease.
So I spent perhaps half an hour talking with this character under the purplish glare of the mercury-vapor street-lights. It occurred to me that the movie might be over, so I said “Well, nice meeting you! I need to meet my wife.”
I had the timing right. I got back to the theater entrance just as Betsy was coming out, and we walked home.