Saturday night, when my little guy goes to my mom’s so I can have a night ‘out.’ Of course, the reality is that I typically haven’t thought of what to do on this ‘night out,’ my single friends have plans and my married friends are, well, married. With a few exceptions, though, I avoid planning ahead for Saturday night because it seems when I do plan then I am so bloody tired I end up wishing I hadn’t and could just sit at home watching a marathon of whatever show I am currently making my way through on Netflix.
The result of this not planning ahead/general malaise is that I am frequently left at 6:00pm on a Saturday trying to sort something out to do alone and, not infrequently, this means going to a movie at my neighborhood theatre by myself. I don’t have a problem with this, per se, and yet each time it feels just a teensy weensy bit pathetic that I haven’t managed to even rustle up a co-watcher on Tinder or something.
This is generally how I select films to see: 1) are they playing at the Los Feliz 3 or Vista Theater – because I can walk to them and 2) have I heard of them. In my passive pursuit of non-planning, I typically know little if anything about the plot/story line. Tonight, I headed over for the 8:40 showing of Boyhood – which I had heard about mostly because the cast was shot over a 12 year period so you actually see them growing up/getting older.
I made my way into the theatre and – it was weird – everyone was sitting with two spaces between them and the next person. In the centers of all but the front rows. I picked my favorite row and there was this guy, right in the middle, with two seats on either side of him. It was awkward because this meant I either had to sit next to him or the people on the other side of the two seats which is totally not kosher in America where there is generally a one-seat buffer between parties. I like sitting center screen and, since it was going to be awkward any way I worked it, I went for it and sat next to the guy in the middle. Then a bunch more people came in and a couple agitated to have others move to make room for them and pretty soon ours and the adjacent rows were full.
I kind of felt bad for him as I had the idea he left the two seats intentionally because of his intense social anxiety or something but, when I made a comment about the place filling up, he got all chatty. He seemed nice. I thought, wow, here I came to a movie alone and I met this nice, attractive guy. A couple of times, his elbow brushed mine on the arm rest and it wasn’t accidental, you know? I wouldn’t go so far as to say there were sparks but I did imagine possibly going for a drink after or something – you know, what normal people do.
But then, there was the movie. I won’t spoil the whole thing for you but one major plot point is that the boy whose boyhood we are following keeps having these awful stepfather characters come into his life. In the end, it’s his more or less absentee dad that’s the good guy. His mother is smart and beautiful and none of the guys seems awful at the start but over time they devolve and she has to flee or kick them out. Now, I don’t know about other single mamas but, for me, this is pretty much my worst nightmare – that I will bring someone into my son’s life who will hurt him even more than his dad’s absence does. As the film ended, I wondered what we would do. Would he say something to me? Would it be awkward? Would we go for drinks and end up together only to have it end up that he’s a total freak who would damage me and/or my son forever? It was all too much, really.
So, rather than wait for the credits to finish as I am now in the habit of doing (my kid always wants to wait to see if there are any little surprises at the end), while the titles from the sound track was scrolling, I just left.