Going solo

I went to the movies the other night. I finally took myself to see a movie that’s been out for some time. I hadn’t had the right timing, the right person to go with, or the opportunity to see it before, though I did try. When I saw that it was still in the theatre, I thought, what the heck, I’m unexpectedly free tonight, so, I went. 

–Bonus, with my rewards card, it was 5 bucks!

I must remember that I have that card, and that its benefits are only at weird, unexpected times….and so, I digress. …back to the movies… 

I didn’t ask anyone to go, didn’t see if anyone was available, didn’t ask who hadn’t yet seen it, or where to go…I just went. When I purchased my ticket, the cashier told me that there was only one other person who had purchased a ticket, this was the only showing, and the theatre was quite small, three rows, to be exact, because the flick had been out for some time. Assured that it would play regardless, I picked my seat, purchased my ticket, headed to the bathroom, (one must always “try”… It’s a mom thing), purchased some fries (from Nathan’s; no judgement) and then headed into  theatre number 11.

My seat, of course had an issue; the recliner didn’t work. So, I went back, told her, and was told to just move over a seat, as they didn’t expect it to be an issue.

I put my pocketbook and coat on the broken chair, settled in, reclined, (what took so long for this logic?) and the preview messages began. In walks a woman, with popcorn, and she heads right to the broken chair. I assure her that I can move my stuff, but tell her that the chair doesn’t recline. I also tell her that I moved over, per instructions, and baffled, she asks me how I know it’s broken if I’m sitting next to it. I tell her that I originally attempted to sit there and when it didn’t recline…yada, yada, yada, and relay the story. Still baffled, I realize we must’ve been sold the same reserved seat. Again, this is not a real issue, as we are the only people in the theatre. I offer to move, and she says that’s silly, and takes the seat just to my left, introduces herself, and offers me popcorn. I thank her, show her my fries, and confirm that there is nooooo way I should be eating them, but I’m thrilled she is my only witness. She replies with, witness? I don’t see anything!

We laugh and tune into the screen. In walks a somewhat older gentleman, and he sits two rows in front of us, and then, yet another, who sits directly on her left. (I mean, really?! There are a ton of seats.)  moments later, she whispers to me that he smells like moth balls, and apologizes for leaning in. Then, not much later, his cell phone rings…loudly and continuously, ironically, just seconds after we have all watched the instruction message for quieting a cell phone and not ruining the movie for others, and yup, he was there, but, he takes the call, jumps up, and exits. Moments later, he returns, reclines,  and resumes watching. Fast forward 20 minutes or so, and his phone rings again. He repeats the same scenario, returns, no apology, and resumes watching. 10 minutes later, we are exposed to round three of the cell phone, and my non moth ball loving neighbor on my left, can’t help herself and says something to him, in which he offers to move his seat, and she clarifies that we’d still hear his phone ring. They exchange inaudible words, he leaves, returns, and moves over TWO ENTIRE SEATS TO THE LEFT OF US. woooo…BIG move!

I’m into the movie, and we quietly compare notes of where we might’ve seen actress A vs B before, but nothing big. The movie ends, somewhat more abruptly than we both expect and we both say it out loud during the credits. The lights are coming up, we exchange niceties, where we are both from, and she starts asking specifics as to where I live, and I hesitate to be that specific. When she names my development, she says she lived there years ago, asks about real estate prices, etc., and somehow both reveal that each of our parents reside in Florida. I’m not even sure how that happened… Possibly relating about the mother/daughter relationship in the movie?….but they’re not in the same areas, although living similar scenarios. I presumed she was older than I am, but I’m not good with ages, as I really don’t think ages matter amongst friends, but the life scenarios appear similar. We head out together, she hands me her card, tells me she’s single, and if I’m ever heading to the movies again, she’d love to join me. I give her my card as well, and then I realize we work in similar circles. She gives me a hug, reminds me that the phone rings both ways, and we leave in separate directions.

I’m a little baffled…I’m not really sure what just happened here. 

Crickets…. Crickets… Crickets.

I mean, did I just get picked up? Seriously? By a woman? Or is this just another woman, like me, free on a weeknight, that caught a movie, and also didn’t ask a friend beforehand?  I’m really not sure. Was i giving off some kind of vibe of some unfamiliar sort?

I sit in the car for a sec, pondering. I talk with my daughter on the phone; she has no opinion either way. I speak to a friend the following day, and she assures me it’s probably the latter, reasoning that this movie has been out for a while, and any likelihood of someone trying to meet someone is grossly limited with this particular scenario, and she probably was in the same boat as I was, just seeing it now. Hmmmm.

Today, (two days later), I receive a message from my office manager, that blankety blank called and can be reached at said number. Whoa…yup….It’s the non moth ball loving movie goer. Okay, now I’m stunned. I’m really not sure what to do with this, so I sit on it until lunch. I text my same friend regarding my hesitancy to return the call, and she tells me to trust my instincts…of course…how can I not? Though I’m really not sure what they are… I have NEVER been in this situation before. #mygayfriendswillNEVERletmelivethisdown 

So, I call her from an undisclosed line. She picks up right away, assures me that she called because she wouldn’t be heading to the movies anytime in the next week, as she’s booked a trip to Florida. I tell her I am considering the same, to check on my folks, and she asks me when. I assure her I’m just in the thinking stages. I can’t help myself and ask if she is “newly single”, thinking she’ll tell me she’s recently divorced or widowed, or something, and she assures me that she’s been single “for a long time”,  having been engaged, and it not working out. (This doesn’t give me much clarity.)  We talk for a few moments, and she mentions her concerns regarding being in Florida amidst the teens and the chaos of late, because of her different opinion regarding the whole right to defend yourself, and I allow her to talk. We agree to let this be, not knowing each other, and possibly having different opinions, and I’m thrilled it doesn’t become heated. We’re all feeling lots of vulnerability right now, and for many reasons. I’m trying to keep myself calmer overall these days, and be true to myself.  We therapists don’t take care of ourselves as well as we should… we care for others. 

I do need to eat lunch and return to working, so I wish her a safe trip, and tell her I presume we might talk when she returns. She is friendly, and passionate, and shares her passion for her friendships and talks about how things like this happening in the world should remind us to reach out to our friends while we can. I feel oddly, like she is some kind of messenger for me.

I’m still not clear about any of this “chance” meeting? I can’t figure out how professional adults are supposed to meet other people, besides all of the standards. But, maybe she’s just been doing it for longer, or is more skilled at it, or whatever. Maybe her intentions are otherwise…I’m not sure. I know I have been intentionally spending time with more female friends from my past. Our families and lives have limited this for so long, and I enjoy their company, miss our hang outs, and am enjoying the reconnection of those whose souls remain with me, from when life was not as complicated. It’s a return of sorts, to whom I was, and to whom I am becoming. I treasure these friends.

I know I’ve lost some of myself along the way, throughout the years, and I’m even enjoying spending some of that time with myself and my own thoughts and choices. Maybe I need to take myself to a movie more often. I wonder what else has been out for months, that I haven’t seen…hmmmm. 



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