Monday, September 30, 2013

193. Going to the Movies is so Much Better

You stand very still, an industrial-sized bucket of popcorn clutched in your hiking-pole calloused hands. You are staring down at the mountain of white kernels, tinged with an artist's gradient of yellow. You can't believe that something as beautiful as popcorn could possibly exist. It's been a longer than you can remember since you held warm food that didn't have to be boiled on your stove. Every kernel is like a miracle. You lift one up, holding it gently in your fingertips, and examine the little exploded universe; constellations of yellow butter splattered across the white expanse of space. 

You feel like you are moving in slow motion, a world of fast-moving locals blurring around you. Everyone is moving so fast, so intent on getting from one place to another. Even here, in a refuge of relaxation, regular people seem so rushed. Their feet beat a pattern of hurry across the 80's patterned carpet common to all movie theatre lobbies. They are so interested in getting the right seat, thinking that little particularities will make or break their movie-going experience.

But you, you hiker you, have evolved whether you realize it or not. You don't care what seat you get. Where ever you manage to sit down in the theatre, the screen will seem impossibly huge. You haven't watched any television in weeks, let alone seen moving images flicker across a 20-foot-tall projection screen. It doesn't bother you if your seat is squeaky, or if someone tall sits in front of you. You are just grateful to be inside somewhere that is air conditioned. It might be freezing cold outside, or horribly hot and humid, but here in the movie theatre, it is always a consistent 65 degrees. 

A bonus of going to the movie theater when you're a hiker is that the odds of someone tall sitting in front of you is slim. That is to say: the odds of anyone sitting near you is slim. If you are in a hiker group of 2 or more, your collective stink cloud ensures that you sit in a neat bubble of empty seats. You don't mean to be rude, you do your best to be as politely hygienic as possible. Luckily movie theaters are so pumped full of popcorn smell that the hiker perfume only wafts at most 5 feet in every direction. Also, because movie theaters are always slightly chillier than they need to be, your sweat production is given a lucky rest. Thus, if people sit just a few rows away from you, they'll be safe. 

Sometimes, due to your complete lack of understanding regarding regular work days, you usually end up in the movie theatre at 1:30pm on a Tuesday, meaning you are sharing the theatre with at most 5 other people who are retired or have bizarro work schedules. If you're really lucky, you and the other hikers will be the only people in the theatre, meaning that you can spend a lot of time heckling each other and the screen. At particularly excellent moments of action-movie heroism, you can throw your fists in the air and holler happily, without worrying that the movement of punching the air will cause people around you to pass out. 

The sound system in the theater seems too good to be true. You have only been encountering the surround sound of nature, which is hardly ever loud, unless it's a cicada day. On the cicada days, it feels like you are in the middle of a constant alien abduction, with space craft landing just out of sight in every possible direction. Other than the invasion of brightly colored insane-o bugs, the loudest it ever gets in the woods is during thunderstorms. In the movie theatre, you get the excitement of thunder without the ensuing dampness and shivering.

You shovel handfuls of popcorn into your mouth like cookie monster, pieces of it spilling everywhere. For the first time in your life you can eat as much popcorn as you want, coated with a veritable river of syrupy molten butter. In fact, you sort of need these extra calories, because as much as you try to consume enough calories on trail, you simply can't carry enough to keep you from wasting away into a hairy skeleton. Thus, on your rare forays into regular society, you have to eat as much as you can as cheaply as you can. With the endless free refills on popcorn and soda, you are guaranteed to leave the movie theatre feeling impressively bloated and gassy. 

Every movie you see is great because you have lost all basis for comparison. Anything you choose to see will make you happy because it is an excuse to give your body a much-needed rest. You are completely involved in the show because you have nothing else to occupy or distract your mind; your suspension of disbelief is solid as a rock. You are no longer a critic, you are simply letting yourself enjoy the experience of being immersed in one of humanity's most incredible and taken-for-granted inventions. 

Clever Girl


  1. You mean any movie that Steven Seagal isn't in right?

  2. This post makes me happy we sent that gift card :-) I'm glad you guys had these happy breaks! <3Kiki