2004-11-13 - 9:05 p.m.
There are nights I worry about the word “alone.” Sitting in its little spot on the page of a dictionary, knowing whenever someone reads her it will echo. The youngest will read her quickly, without a thought. It’s the passing days that extend the ‘o.’ Before too many years pass she becomes “aloooone…”
A world of travesty has been drawn around her hem, and so often now she cannot be see without dark memories of absence floating down around her.
But I can say, without rationalization, and without trepidation, and probably some other “ation,” that one can, and I have enjoyed a thoroughly lovely evening meant and constructed upon alone.
Some days simply require it.
Days when even the skies seem indecisive; when the rain comes down in a day long trickle, instead of simply committing to the act and pouring it all out in the span of an hour or so. It’s not quite enough to get me to buy an umbrella, but just enough to render the chilling temperatures absolutely fucking freezing. These walks are meant for alone. With determination and zeal, you can plod your way through, but with a companion no matter how intense the insistence - “I’m fine.” – the guilt wanders in.
Same in the packed crowds of the subway, where you can disappear into your own mind, or the bass line jamming out of your ear-buds. Beside a friend, you either have to maintain chit-chat or else, stop, glance at each other, shrug and smile, then nod and look back into the sea of faces, dumbfounded as to what to say.
What force moved me to seek out Boston Market, but I made my way into Chelsea anyway with visions of cornbread dancing in my head. I filled myself with chicken, mashed, and mac, before leaning back and reading the better half of a novel in the dank basement seating area, knowing I wouldn’t be disturbed.
A sad state of affairs, quite possible, but there are those evenings when you don’t to make with conversation, with stories, and trip and scramble for witty response. Where looking into the walls and feeling yourself breathe is as good an activity as any, and again, by some strange force, suddenly necessary.
The fact that I regularly attend movies by myself, continues to befuddle my mother.
“By yourself? Why? You can’t get your friends out?”
“Do you watch TV by your self?”
“Not the same…”
Still, without the burden of saving seats, or negotiating with a so-called friend who, for some reason insists on sitting almost at the back of the theater, when there a seats in the middle, a safe distance, as to save the neck, but close up enough to enjoy the whole Cinema-Scope Experience. And they’re filling up. By the second…All gone while squabbling over his myopia. With just myself in tow, all I need to do is find those two couples, who know the theater is sold out, but still insist on that one seat buffer zone, and fill it.
The theater tonight is the Beekman, a theater amazing enough to demand attendance on its own. One screen in a huge almost opera hall like room, balcony and all. The marquee outside advertises the single film playing for the evening. The concession stand, while filled with Pepsi machines, is shockingly devoid of advertising ploys. The pre-movie list of warnings and no-no’s makes a point of dousing one’s cigarettes, now universal knowledge, but doesn’t say a word about cell phones. In short, it’s lovely; the kind of theater Woody Allen would go to, or at least a great theater to see a Woody Allen movie.
The film…well, to make it official, I now hand over my last remaining drops of testosterone and sperm…it’s only fair, having now seen the second Bridget Jones movie on opening night.
The theater swarms with college aged females, and I become convinced within seconds that I am the only male in theater, who wasn’t dragged by his date. I find room between a woman playing den mother to a cadre of over-dressed fifteen year olds, and a thirty year old couple, who nicely hold my chair while preemptively using the bathroom during the previews.
The girls titter and laugh their way through the film, seemingly locked in a near constant state of amusement. On the other side, the couple remains quietly bemused; not saying a word, but happily grinning. Nothing audible comes from either of them, that is until late in the film, when two females happen to lock lips, when a guttural chortle rumbles out of the man’s throat. His date gives him a good stare.
When the credits roll and the lights come up, immediately I am aware of a change in my face. Often, if I have a companion beside me at the movies, the evening will be chock full of annoyingly cynical babblings. (ie – Star Wars Episode One, when Anakin and Padme meet for the first time. – Awww, isn’t that cute. – Yeah. – He’s gonna lick her twat…Occasionally I enjoying being crude. It’s my vice.) Without this kind of distraction keeping my belief from being suspended, I tend to get lost in movies. When I emerge on the other side, I notice my intense study of the lead usually means my mimic mind translates all those tics onto my face. Translation, without really thinking about it, I tend to start walking, talking and twisting my brows into the shapes I’ve just seen thirty feet tall. After watching Blade, I swept my coat, and probably had a little more heft and confidence in my step. I can’t say I’d be against having someone see me in that state. However, when you realize that your lower lip twitches when you say something in the manner of Rene Zellwegger, sometimes its best there isn’t someone there to record it.
One last drink plowed into my system, and the walk home awaits. It’s cold and quiet, the still part of the evening between the goings to and the comings out. I listen to the nine minute rock operas Green Day has spliced together, gleefully quiet, and excited to no small degree that just six floors up is a large mattress to roll myself out on, until the daylight pesters me awake.
No coffee to make in the morning, or questions of where to eat lunch. Just quiet. Just me, alone, and serene.
5 Letters to the Editor