Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

movie theatres like death

i like to sit alone in large theatres by myself. i do not like when the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th person arrives to spoil my solitude.

even then, in the most crowded of theatres, the lights go dim, and everyone ignores everyone else and we stare at the screen like we're alone with our lovers and children next to us - but individually alone and locked up in our own eyes and ears - alone and alone in a crowded room. still, i prefer to be literally alone in theatres, not just metaphorically so. i like to make the metaphors real, because they then spiral beyond the easy metaphor into new realms of meaning.

alone in the place where i should be alone in a crowd is what i prefer. all the empty seats become the illusionary crowd of ghosts. i am sitting in this chair that's shaped like a plush tombstone. in other planes of sensation, all of those chairs are full with just one person alone in a theatre. we're all ghosts for each other, in our silver-sreened cemetary. the movie rolls - and all these plots are the same - pulling a narrative out of the memories in my head. the memories replay and replay until i forget the details and the film falls further into the stylized techniques of idiosyncratic directors. finally, even these narratives fade to mythos languages, gibberish child-speak in the rushed conclusion. then, the music plays and it's just a list of words, of names, like in an obituary where they list survivors and family friends.

and then, you're all alone staring at the empty screen of your own forgotten life. mysterious sounds at the edge of language, like audio hallucinations, are all that's left of your mind. you strain to listen, but you can't make anything out. somewhere people are laughing, running, talking to each other.

and you're alone in a theatre.

i sit alone in a theatre and imagine all these things. people arrive a little later and yak loudly about where they should sit. they rattle popcorn and icy beverages. their clothes make annoying swishing sounds while they walk down the aisles, still talking.

more people come. then a few more shout for their families over the previews and opening credits.

we are then, all of us, metaphorically alone in the crowded theatre.

at the end of the show, i stand up and exit the theatre. i drive home in the dark to an empty apartment.

i turn off the lights and watch the ceiling fan spin in the moonlight and the streetlamp glow like the way the milky way is spinning in the dark in the cosmic eye.

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