Monday, September 06, 2004

Alone at the movies

Over the years, I’ve probably been to the movies alone at least three or four dozen times. Probably more. I haven’t really kept count, so that’s just a guess. And I’ve seen almost every kind of movie on my own over the years – everything from indie stuff to big budget blockbusters to stupid comedies or heartbreaking dramas. Most of the time, going to the movies alone doesn’t bother me. After all…I get to choose whatever seat I want and I don’t have to worry about sharing an armrest, or talking to anyone during the movie, or somebody complaining about how early I like to get to the theatre.

Most of the time.

There are times, however, when it really, really bothers me. When it bothers me far more than I let on to other people, or even to myself (though I’ve learned that I’m not all that great at hiding things from myself). These are the times that usually keep me from going by myself for awhile afterwards, out of a fear of feeling the same way again.

Going to the movies alone is a completely normal activity. Lots of people other than myself go to the movies alone. The reasons for them (as for me) vary quite a bit. Sometimes nobody is around and you really want to go and see something. Sometimes you want to see a film that nobody else is interested in. Or you really don’t want to see it with anyone else. Or perhaps it was a spur of the moment decision that resulted in you going. Or everybody else has already seen something and you’re going so you can finally see it yourself. Or whatever. All and/or none of the above. It isn’t always because you’re antisocial, or alone, or introverted.

But sometimes…at least for me…sometimes it is. And despite seeing an incredible film, you feel miserable afterwards.


Because you have no one to talk to about it afterwards. Maybe you were moved by what you saw. Or disturbed. Or impressed. Or incredibily disappointed. Maybe you really wanted dinner out, too – and that’s usually a step to far on the ‘loner’ scale. Maybe you wanted to talk about other things that have been bothering you, or politics, or anything. Maybe what you really wanted was some intimacy with other people and being alone in a crowd of people wasn’t exactly the best way of doing that. Whatever. There are as many reasons as there are for going by yourself in the first place.

At heart, I’m not really a ‘loner,’ or at least I don’t identify myself as one. Oh, I’m certainly introverted – the smaller the crowd, the more comfortable I am. But, I can do okay in bigger crowds (though they do tire me quicker). Yes, I can be a bit gunshy around asking out women, but with my history of rejection, certifiable crazies, and girls who say ‘yes’ only because they want a free dinner plus an opportunity to complain about their mother and their ex-boyfriend (yes – true story…my last ‘date’)…can you actually blame me for being a bit gunshy? (Note: I should also state “for the record” that I am terrible at reading the signs of interest from someone. I’m often the last to know that somebody is interested in me. Indeed, I’ve been told after the fact that somebody was interested too many times to count – worst of all, in situations where I was interested, but too shy to ask.)

It doesn’t help that I’ve been so ‘inside my head’ lately. Obsessing about things, anxious about this woman or that…garbage at work, personal life stuff, etc. I’d love it if I wasn’t quite so self-aware right now. I’m sure it will go away eventually…but in the meantime…it stinks.

Anyway…the Red Sox are playing Oakland right now on ESPN – something to maybe get my mind off all this.


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