I took myself to the movies this weekend. Given Helen Mirren appears to be the shoo-in Oscar winner for The Queen, I caught a Sunday matinee. Although the multiplex chose to show the film on one of the smaller of its 24 screens, the studio-indy (a.k.a. "stindy") drew a close to full house.
Therein lies the problem.
As I usher my popcorn (extra "golden topping") and Sprite into the show, I find the theater at near capacity. As usual, I began my trek to the very back row. As I ascend, I find aisle-after-aisle of one lone, empty seat peppered throughout. Each seat held a coat, a purse. Each person book ending the empties stared straight ahead, so politely grabbing attention took some doing. "Is this seat taken?” "Yes". “Sorry, saved”. I find a spot in the third row, all the way down front, all the way right. Staring up into 10-foot high nostrils was dizzying so, about a half-hour in, I scan the theater one more time. Maybe I missed an empty. I did. Lots of them. At least a dozen. The same saved seat after seat...empty.
No ass(es) in seat.
Are we now a society more at ease in chat rooms and our own heads than in real-life-face-to-face-three-dimensional situations? So much that we won't sit next to a stranger in a crowded theater? Or talk to the checker scanning our groceries. Or wave to the guy in a sammich suit hawking Subway on the corner. It’s the elevator phenomenon; eyes forward, silent, you cannot see me. I am here momentarily and not part of your existence. My cat does something similar. She’ll close her eyes and appears to believe she’s become invisible.
But then, she's a cat.