Sunday, April 18, 2021

Row C, Seat 9

I went to the movies today! First time in a year. There was something just so delightfully normal about slipping away for a Sunday matinee. Me returning to the theater, sitting in the dark and watching an Oscar-nominated movie is just as natural as the swallows returning to Capistrano.

It was different than a year ago. Every other row was blocked off to limit capacity. Seats were assigned to ensure social distancing. Masks were required, except for when you were enjoying your refreshments.

I've been reading so many online complaints about STILL having to wear masks, and what an encroachment they are on our rights (though I wonder why being required to wear a shirt isn't an encroachment on the rights of our nipples, but whatever) that I looked around furtively in the dark to check compliance. No ushers were wandering the aisles, enforcing the mandate. Yet I am happy to report that everyone was masked for the duration of the film. We respect one another in my neighborhood, we listen to science and common sense. I am proud of us.

Now about the movie. In The Father, Anthony Hopkins is searing. He is charming and angry and desperate as an old man losing his faculties. It's an awesome performance. Much of the movie is told from his point-of-view, which makes it confusing and exasperating. It's difficult to follow and keeps us off balance, but that's the point. That's how this man experiences his life.

It disturbed me, because I have three friends who are battling mental/emotional issues right now. Issues that are not going to be easily resolved, or perhaps not resolved at all.

•  My oldest friend is bipolar. She doesn't control how she spends her time, her moods decide that. Her son is getting married on Friday, she has to find a new place to live, and what has she been up to? She's been finishing her fan fiction story about an American girl named Joie who marries George Harrison at the height of Beatlemania. I haven't heard from her in a month. She never acknowledged the present I sent her -- my unused visor and a collection of masks for her to wear when she flies to Texas for the wedding. Joie and George take precedence. I'm trying not to be angry. She is doing the best she can.

•  Henry is battling a traumatic brain injury. He forgets things. I told him on Friday that I would not be available to spend hours on the phone with him this weekend or into this week. I have a big project and I'm trying to work ahead because I may need time off (second vaccination; broken tooth). He keeps calling and emailing me because he's upset and he forgets. I'm trying not to be annoyed. He's doing the best he can.

•  Kathy is in her early 70s and, literally, can't keep a thought in her head. So while we're talking on the phone, she'll ask me to slow down so she can take notes. It makes me feel like Meghan Markle being interviewed by Oprah. It's futile, because the next time we talk she doesn't remember the last conversation at all. Talking to her is upsetting, but I hang on because she's doing the best she can.

So while going to the movies was fun, and I appreciated the film enormously, the experience wasn't as uplifting as I'd hoped.