Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 21, 2004
Going To The Movies – Alone
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 21, 2004 – It’s Sunday and I’m taking the day off. I’m not seeing clients, doing research for them, worrying about them or about where my next deal is coming from. I slept in and then had tea and toast in front of the fireplace. I’m a vision of loveliness in my bathrobe – topped off with slouch socks and my old gray flannel jacket.
I haven’t had a shower and my hair looks like it’s been styled by Don King’s personal coiffeur. I deserve this. I passed an hour reading from my book club’s selection. Now I’m feeling restless. If I sit around the rest of the day, like I have on countless other days away from the pressure of work, I will have lost the opportunity to do anything enjoyable. I rationalize that I’m tired and can’t be bothered having a shower and then going out alone – to do what?
I think a moment. I want to see ‘Hidalgo’. My sister-in-law, one of my chief movie buddies, is only luke-warm to the idea. This means if I really want to go, I’ll be flying solo. Part of the draw of Hidalgo is the story line, but seeing Viggo Mortenson, recent of The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, won’t be a disappointment. As any 54 year old Canadian woman knows, Liv Tyler didn’t really understand or appreciate Viggo. What right does she have to Aragorn anyway. She’s an elf princess for heaven’s sake and wouldn’t you know it, she’s 23 and drop-dead gorgeous. Typical Hollywood mentality. Couldn’t she be a little bit roly-poly. Santa Claus is described as a ‘right jolly old elf’.
Alas – this isn’t really about Viggo or Liv – it’s about me! There is something sort of pathetic about going to the movies alone (or so I think). Movies are a date thing, a group thing, a friend thing. If I’m going by myself does it mean I’m without dates, groups and friends. Today, that appears to be so. However if I’m scrupulously honest, I hate going out alone. I feel a bit like a loser.
This is a tragically sad statement! I’m a woman who wants to see a great movie. It happens to be playing at a theatre near my home – I have the day off. What is the issue here? It’s the fact that I’ve bought into the social misconception that being on one’s own is somehow shameful and sad. I should be apologizing for my single status. Lord knows, there are thousands of women who would probably kill for an afternoon alone. Without kids and husbands and responsibilities.
At the root of it – I care what other people think of me. Walking in alone, sitting alone, crying alone (because I always cry at the movies), leaving alone. I remember a great quote (source unknown and I paraphrase only) that says – “You wouldn’t be so worried about what other people think of you, if you knew how seldom they do”. This is true.
People who are at the movies this afternoon are there to be entertained. They may notice me in passing, or not at all. If they do see me, they are strangers, and how can it possibly matter to me what they think? This is the real heart of the matter. A hard revelation for me. It’s a bit of a surprise, because in many situations, especially related to my career and the people I encounter in business, I honestly don’t care what they think of me. But this is on a personal level.
Time to grow up a bit. Take a step outside the old comfort zone. Yikes. This is really a pre-cursor to my upcoming stories about anxiety and panic. The ‘Anxiety Issue’ has plagued me since I was twenty-six years old, and I’m finally summoning (tentatively) up the courage to face it. Unlike ‘My Black Dragon’ of younger years, this one still has a firm hold on my heart, my soul and my self-respect. So, it’s off to the movies for me. Baby steps on my life journey. So, thank you Viggo for the impetus. How very amusing. How sweet! How brave! How pathetic!
Isn’t life funny? Dorothy, my afore-named movie buddy and cherished sister-in-law, just called me and has decided she wants to see Hidalgo as well, so I’m going to have company after all. But that’s not the point. I was just headed out the door by myself and only hyperventilating a little. So a reprieve of sorts – but next time, I will go alone. Fear loses its power when faced head on, and because I’m tired of being confounded by fear, this may be a harbinger of a livelier future!
UPDATE – I just read this piece for the first time in 10 years – what an idiot I was – what a rockin’ WARRIOR I am now!