He nods and asks, “The show is at 12:30pm. You want a ticket for 4D or 2D?”
After comparing the prices of 4D and 2D, I opt for the latter. The agent asks me to choose my seat on the screen and I observe that only a handful of seats have been taken. This is to be expected since it’s almost lunch time on a work day. I choose a seat in the right hand corner of the last row at the back and part with my money. He hands me the ticket and I place it carefully in my wallet. Phew. He didn’t say anything.
I have some time to kill so I head to the shops. An hour passes away quickly and it’s almost time for the movie to start. As I climb up the few stairs to the cinemas and hand my ticket to the usher, I feel nervous again. He merely tears a portion of the ticket and hands the other back saying, “Kingsman. Cinema 3. Enjoy the movie ma’am.” I smile and say, “Thank you.” Phew. he didn’t comment either.
The movie theater is silent and the overhead orange lights are dim but enough to lead the way. I climb up the right aisle staircase and notice that a couple of solo movie patrons are already seated here and there. I head towards the back row, locate my seat and breathe a sigh of relief again. Phew. I’m not the only one.
As I settle down and fidget with my phone to silence it, I notice a few more people entering the theater. Some are on their own while some are in pairs. My heart speeds up as a pair of giggly ladies squeeze past me and settle down just a few seats away. I relax when I realize they are too engrossed in their tub of popcorn to notice anything. The lights go dark and the screen lights up with the first advertisement. I pray to God no one else has tickets to the back row. Suddenly, I stiffen up as two gentlemen, obviously playing hooky from work seat themselves right next to me and start talking. I begin to wonder what their line of work is. Probably something to do with outdoor sales so they can leave the office whenever they want? One of them receives a phone call and my earlier suspicion is confirmed when he says, “I am busy right now. Can I call you later?” Aha! So he is clearly avoiding work-related stuff today. He silences the phone and continues talking to his friend. The ads are still playing and I contemplate moving to the row below to avoid their chitter-chatter. God is on my side when the two men suddenly get up and move to the row below just as the movie is about to start. I thank my lucky stars and shift one seat closer to the aisle, distancing myself some more from the popcorn-crunching ladies and settle down to watch the movie in peace hugging my rucksack against me like a pillow. Phew, let’s get the fun started.
Maybe watching a movie alone isn’t such a weird thing after all.
“Go to a movie by myself.” I was starting to wonder if setting this DayZero goal was a hasty decision on my part or something that I would actually accomplish one day. I had never gone to the movies alone. Actually I had. I’d been alone to the movies a couple of times before, but that was during my several years working at a film festival where watching foreign films or a big film premiere after a work shift was how we would sometimes unwind, be it alone or in the company of another. I never considered it as a special ‘me time’ activity since I knew everybody at the festival and would run into one colleague or the other who was also there to enjoy a film.
But watching a movie alone in an actual theater? Now that was something outside my comfort zone. I knew a few people who did it all the time and I used to find it strange. Like the only reason they were going alone was because they had no friends or family who would go with them. I am sure that it’s not true but somehow I had that wrong impression in my mind.
Come Monday morning, a couple of days ago, I was Googling “solo activities to do” (no kidding) because I wanted to read about people’s experiences of doing something by themselves. I came across some great stuff like this blog. As I read more and more experiences, I began to feel confident and inspired. I immediately took out the daily tabloid and scanned the movie page. I got excited when I saw that Kingsman was playing because this was Colin Firth’s first proper action film and I wasn’t going to miss it for the world.
I acted on impulse and went to the mall a couple of hours later. It was now or never and I am so glad I didn’t let my mind talk me out of it. Yes, I was a bit intimidated and felt vulnerable. Yes, I was worried about what the box office agent and the usher were thinking. I was also worried about the giggly ladies and the chatty men but when I saw that there were so many people who had just come on their own, I realized it wasn’t such a big deal after all. I’ve done bigger, scarier things alone in my life and this was just going to the movies.
I thoroughly enjoyed a movie for once without talking to anyone and just being in the moment. It was great fun and I can see why more people are tempted to engage in solitary activities. I learned an important lesson too – not to wait around for someone to tag along with you wherever you want to go and then feel disappointed when they don’t want to. If you can’t find a friend, you be your own partner in crime.
What have you been inspired by to do this week? Write about it on your blog and tag it TakeAStepThursday and link back to the original post on my blog. 🙂