Cinema Junky

Jake walked into the cinema on a hot summer afternoon. It was the first time he had ventured into a theater in a very long time. He had forgotten the tactile and sensory impact, along with the ephemeral ‘something’ that enveloped him as he walked in.

Entering the lobby one goes from the blinding bright heat of the day, into a dimmer, cool world complete with neon lights, music, and chattering people. It is almost a shock to the system, when he take his first deep breath, the aroma of popcorn, hot dogs, and chocolate overwhelm the olfactory senses, and his mouth starts to water, because deep inside, we all know that a good movie deserves good popcorn and soda.

After garnering the prerequisite treats, he headed for the theater inside the giant building. Used to be that the theater was one large auditorium that showed two movies in a row. The coveted place to sit, for anyone under 20, was in the balcony. Little kids loved the front row of the balcony so they could throw popcorn down on people and be as obnoxious as they could until the ushers threw them out. The older kids loved the back row of the balcony where they could cuddle and kiss in the dark. Things have changed, however.

Jake wandered down the corridor to the door marked with the number 16 and an LED sign that ran the name of the movie over and over above the door. As he stood waiting for the cleaning staff to let him in, he realized the same smell existed in the building as it did in the old cinemas of his youth. The slightly dusty smell of carpets combined with a hint of urine, spilled drinks, and too much cologne slathered on by both males and females surprised him. It felt comforting, because it was so familiar. He always wondered why, even if the restrooms were in perfect order, the slight tinge of urine always lingered creating a piquant note to the warm oder of the salty popcorn.

Entering the theater auditorium used to be a big moment. Walking into the hushed semi dark atmosphere, down a aisle with lights embedded in the carpet at the end of each row, searching in the darkness for a special seat or one’s friends, and scooting into the middle of a row over knees and packages were part of the ritual of going to the cinema. Back in the day, people chatted, crackled paper, crunched on ice, and babies would toddle up and down the aisle until the parents finally got them to settle down. Today, however, there are the added benefits of commercials on the screen, blaring music and announcements, and the ever present cell phones beeping, squeaking, and lending bright light to the darkness.

Jake sat down in his favorite place, center seat, center row of the theater. He always counted rows and seats before sitting down to make sure he was dead center in the room. That way he was able to see and hear everything while ignoring the noises from the other patrons. Cup of soda on his right, popcorn nestled in his left arm, he settled back to enjoy his favorite part of any movie, the previews of coming attractions. Lights go down, music is cued, and with each preview, the sound gets louder, until, at last, the main event lights up the screen. Cue the dramatic music, action sequence to introduce the story, and the outside world goes away for two hours or so.

If the movie is good, Jake gets sucked into the story and action, never hearing or paying attention to his noisy companions. If the movie is bad, or boring, every little thing about his neighbors annoys him, sometimes to the point of complaining to management. It paid to have a reputation as a grumpy old man.

With the high cost of attending the cinema, a cost he has seen double over and over again since the days he could spend the entire afternoon at the cinema and spend less than a dollar, Jake didn’t go as much as he used to. Watching a movie at home on all the new gadgets and gizmos was, eh, okay. But, it simply didn’t have the magical feeling of a theater. The anticipation, the aromas, the feeling of isolation and distance from the every day world, were only experienced in an honest to goodness cinema. As expensive as it was, Jake had to get is movie fix once every few months. It wasn’t the movie he saw that mattered so much, as it was the experience of the mysterious world of the cinema.

When the movie ended, he always stayed to see the credits roll by. Generally, there was a theme song that played along with them, so he sat quietly watching and listening as everyone bustled around grabbing up their items and debris as they headed out. Jake was almost always the last person out of the theater, annoying the cleaners at his delay. Head still wrapped up in the story, he would slowly wander down the corridor to the exit.

It was always a shock to the system to realize that the world had kept on going while he was away in the mysteries of the cinema. The lobby seemed too bright, loud, and full of people. The aroma of popcorn wasn’t nearly as enticing, and, depending on the time of day and year, he knew once he opened the exterior door, he would step back into the heat or cold of the rat race. It always made him feel tired and ready for a nap. Regretting the cost, he, once again, made himself a promise that he wouldn’t spend that kind of money on a wasted afternoon. He could, after all, see the movie at home in a few months.

Of course, like all addicts, deep inside, Jake knew that he would be back as soon as a new movie came out that just had to be seen in a theater to gain the most from the story. At least that is what he told himself. It was better than admitting he was a cinema junky.

Why Is It – second additon

Why is it that patients are required to cancel appointments 24 hours in advance, but the doctor doesn’t have to show up until 45 minutes past the first appointment?



Why is it that the phone will always ring when you are in the middle of changing a diaper?



Why is it the dogs will go berserk when the UPS truck turns up, but ignores the kids walking across the yard?



Why is it that every time you sit down to eat, you think of a dozen things you forgot to do first?



Why is it that the check out lanes at a store can be empty when you come in, but when you get ready to leave, the all have lines ten people deep?



Why is it that the day you are in a huge hurry, you get behind the one person in the store who has a coupon for every single item in her trolley, and she has to have the amount checked on most of them>



Why is it that the very day you decide to water the lawn, it rains after you have put the sprinkler away?



Why is it that mowing the yard always makes it rain?



Why is it that clearing up stuff always leads to more stuff finding its way out onto the nearest flat surface?



Why is it the day your house is at its worse, someone always turns up without calling first?



Why is it that the best part of the book comes along right when you need to turn off the light and go to sleep?



Why is it that the one thing you need the most is never where you left it?



Why is it that the empty street becomes full of cars the minute you turn on it?



Why is it there is always one person too busy talking on the phone to drive at a reasonable rate of speed, not ten miles an hour under the posted limit?



Why is it that every time you sit down to relax for a few minutes, you get interrupted, or you wake up and it is three hours later?



Why is it that the one food you should never eat looks and smells so darned delicious?



Why is it the dog will walk right under your feet and then be offended when you trip over him?



Why is it the cat cannot pass up anything resembling a box without trying to nap in it?



Why is it when you need sleep the most, you simply cannot find it?


Taking A Break

I have recently taken a break from most of my most politically, socially, and emotionally liberal friends. Some of whom, I have known for over forty years. I am not angry with them, I do not hate them, I don’t think of them as less important or valuable as I am, or anyone else for that matter. I am just tired of dealing with people, though I love them, who are so narrow minded, judgmental, and so caught up in their self serving lives that they cannot, or will not, take the time to learn to be truly accepting people. Accepting, that is, of others who do not profess the same agenda, live the same life style, agree with the same issues, and walk, talk, and do just as they do. I am too old to deal with group speak, group mentality, and group non thinking. I miss the individual thinkers that they used to be.

Political correctness has taken over the minds of so many of my brilliant friends. Highly talented, intelligent, and, previously, interesting people to the last one, they have become mind numbed robots of the politically correct, or they have taken a path that allowed them to steep themselves in unending self victimization as an excuse to be angry at everyone not exactly like them. The odd thing is, they profess, profusely, profanely, and with great pontification that they are accepting of everyone. Of course, they don’t say, “As long as they believe exactly as I do.” We see this playing out on the stage of world politics every day. It has, sadly, trickled down into every day life for many people.

I am reminded of the opening scene in the movie, Joe VS The Volcano where hundreds of men and women walk in near lockstep into a factory of some sort. In the center of the concrete slab that is the outdoors, one single flower grows regardless of the fact that it shouldn’t be able to do so. It gets stepped on, ignored, pulled up, but it still managed to grow and make a single bright spot in the middle of the gray concrete. Not one person notices, except for a man who is miserable with his boring, repetitive life. He notices, and that leads to a whole new life of adventure.

Many of my friends of old, have become those boring people who do the same things day after day They only read the socially approved books, watch the popular movies, listen to the music that is most acceptable by their peers, and never, ever, think for themselves. It seems like they have given up on growing intellectually. Why read history, why bother with anything that you can’t find on the Internet with the newest electronic gadget? Just go with the flow, and accept that you are happy just the way you are.

There is one particular person, that we love very much, and always will. He lives in one of the most sophisticated cities in the world. However, at pushing sixty, he has never lived anywhere else other than to attend college. He lives in the family home, and he is doing exactly the same things he was doing at the age of 25. His life is a world more based in fantasy than in reality. Don’t get me wrong, he makes a good living, and is successful in myriad ways, but his entire life outside of work is caught up in fantasy characters and play. Not on line, oh no, in real life. Yeah, he is the guy wearing the clothes that always look like a costume of one sort or another. Last week he was Sherlock Holmes every time he went out the door. He has a vastly busy social life, on and off line. (But seriously, can one really have 2000 “friends:?) He has a successful marriage, to an equally fantastical woman, but I really don’t think he has a friend he can just sit down and talk with – as himself, bumps, warts, and all. He hides behind that personae and crazy, frenetic activity that is his life. Consequently, he sees anyone who is practical and based in reality as someone who is completely out of touch with the ‘right’ way to live. As a liberal person living in a very liberal city, he has abdicated common sense and turned over his thinking to big brother and others who bother with that sort of thing. Go with the flow, man, go with the flow. Even if it does rip away all his rights eventually. That liberal river is one mean mother when she overflows and takes rights away in a flood of laws and regulations.

On the other hand, I have friends who live such supercilious, fake lives that they think they are living in a movie, and they have the staring role. It is all about cars, houses, clothes, money, gizmos, and doodads. The women get hooked on shoes and the men get hooked on, well whatever they can get away with, be it golf or women. They are like one of those French pastries that looks delicious on the outside, but they are all hollow inside. Under all the chatter and silliness, there is a cut throat competition that would make the Hatfield and McCoy feud look like a tea party. Many of the men in this group are business men. It is all about screwing over the competition so they can feel manly. For the women, it is all about looks and having more than the wife, or girlfriend, or lover of their significant other’s competition. I really, don’t get it. These people can look at a diamond and tell you exactly the karat, cut, and value of it in a glance, but mention something like, oh, Benghazi, and they look at you like you just passed gas at a formal dinner party. They know all the trendiest spas, trainers, cars, places, and things, but rarely have an original thought – and if they do, it scares them to death. The women copy each other, the men steal ideas from each other. They bore me to death. Really, I would rather walk on rocks than go shopping all day, (Bookstores are an exception, but I only shop there on my own.) or spend my time trying to out do everyone around me. Too much work, too little return.

Then there are all my LGBT friends. Yes, I have more than a token one or two. You can’t be in my field of employment without knowing many. I have a few, very few, friends in this group who are as conservative as I am, that just get on with their lives. They honestly do not care one bit who anyone sleeps with, loves, or cohabits with. They are who they are, and being LGBT is not a big deal. They are accepted professionally, socially, and politically – and yes, religiously within their group of friends, family, and community. However, sigh, there is the group of friends who are LGBT first and foremost. They are angry, strident, bigoted, and racist toward anyone who does not bow down to the god of rainbow flags and their sacred fight to be “Just Like Everyone Else.” If you do not agree with everything they do, say, and believe, then you are branded as a hater. Ironic, since they are the people hating to begin with. No matter how often I tell them I don’t care who they sleep with as long as I don’t have to be a party to it, they still think I am a homophobe. I have just thrown up my hands and decided they are all insane and need a time out for anger management. Thinking for themselves is anathema to these people. Just get on the band wagon, in the parade, or carry the rainbow flag and scream about how much everyone hates them already. Oy, can we say self fulfilling prophesy? If you treat everyone as if they hate you just because they think or believe differently, they they just may start walking away in droves. OH, and the LGBT group is evenly sprinkled with fairy dust and delusional beliefs in the first two groups as well. Professional victims still, but vacuous victims.

I have a boat load of friends who are living in the fly over country in middle America. The majority are parents, hard workers who know how to enjoy their down time. Some are city dwellers, some live out beyond the back forty. Some love to travel, some won’t leave their home county, let alone their home state. Some are professional people, from judges to teachers and then some. More are blue collar workers of one sort or another, and another bunch are farmers and ranchers. There are a few things they have in common. They believe in Family First, and included in that is the extended family of friends and neighbors. They tend to be religious, not necessarily church going, but religious. They believe in the greatness of the United States (even those in the south who still lament the late Northern Aggression, aka Civil War.) and they stand firmly for the Constitution and values upon which this country was founded. Best of all, they are independent thinkers, and they understand that history repeats itself if humanity doesn’t protect its freedom from tyranny. Most of them have either served in the military or come from a family that has served. They are patriots.

That’s not to say that middle America folks aren’t selfish and self absorbed. They can be, and some are as vain and supercilious as anyone else. But, at the end of the day, they are less focused on themselves, and more focused on the world around them, and the world far away.

There is something so fun about engaging in a debate with thinking people. Even if we are complete opposites on everything, thinking people take the time to listen and think before spouting the current propaganda and talking points of the day. Like me, these good folks don’t give a flip about who you love, sleep with, or how you live – you are defined by your behavior and how you treat others. What they do care about is the individual, not the lemming behavior of the group. Everyone has incredible potential, and the greatest gift everyone has is the ability to learn, think, and make up their own minds about who they are and what they think. I may not agree with the things they do, or how they think, but it is their right, and they know the consequences of their behavior. The great thing, is we can disagree vehemently and still be friends – not thinking any less of each other or throwing about invectives concerning hate.

So, this self imposed distance from my knee jerk, emotional, lock step, group think, self absorbed liberal friends has done two thing. It made me realize that I bought into their arrogant belief that I simply could not be as good as they are because I am an ignorant hick from Oklahoma, and it made me aware that they are so bogus in that arrogance. They may think they are all that, but deep inside there is a huge hole of discontent and fear. Hiding behind pretend personae and victimization isn’t going to improve anyone’s life. Suck it up people, and learn to think for yourselves. Yes, you might lose a few of those so called friends, but if speaking your mind offends them so much, then they aren’t really your friends.

It took me years to realize no one has the right to tell me to sit down and shut up. No one has the right to tell me how to think. And, best of all, that I am intelligent, well educated, caring, accepting, and willing to lend a helping hand or listening ear. I am not perfect, liberal whiners and moaners annoy me and I loathe the political leaders who are trying to destroy our country. But, at least I am honest with myself and others, and I am not afraid to take a stand and state my thoughts on any topic.

So, my distant liberal friends, I recommend that before having a knee jerk emotional response to every little thing in life, take a deep breath, step back, and think before babbling nonsense. If you don’t know the truth, find out. If you don’t understand, learn. If you are afraid, learn to stand firm even in the face of adversity. Because until you do, my dear liberal friends, you will never be truly happy, content, or who were intended to be.