Going to the movies used to be something very special; the anticipation for an activity that wasn’t common but just a couple of times a year. The feeling of going to that magical, enclosed big room with what seemed hundred of seats, high wall decorated with old, dark red curtains and some dusty wooden decorations. The long, worn carpet that led us to the seats facing the white screen where some magical world will appear, and would let us live some different life and travel to a distant place for about two hours.
But there was also the other part of the trip; the possibility of stopping by a coffee shop after the movie and have a glass of soda and maybe a piece of cake, pineapple by preference. The small, rectangular, metallic table with a plastic tablecloth in red and white squares; the view thru the windows, watching passers by in their unknown activities for us; looking at their grey faces and dark clothing; their fast paced walk and their anonymity to each other, always dancing with sudden movements to avoid physical contact with each other in their travels by the crowded streets.
There was no need for words…there was so much to see!
The whole world and life became silent and slow moving, so it was easy to stop for a moment and watch the surroundings, the people, the physical things that conformed and created the city, society and of being part of life in itself.
Going to the movies was a moment when daily life stopped for a moment and magic became reality. It was the opportunity to step aside of my own life and self; to have the chance to see the world around with different eyes and what was always there, but never seen from that perspective. It was the opportunity to stop participating of society to become a spectator of life.
Then the trip back home, just like the one at the beginning, waiting for the bus at the stop in a dirty street. Watching the people around, up to their faces marked with worries of daily life and infinite activities; perhaps the ghosts of their future that had to be crafted day by day, and I was apart, traveling in time at the moment, aside of life, even my own.
Seating and holding the metallic rail in front at the worn out bus seat, listening to the infinite sounds made by a tired machine that spent an entire life running and still haven’t got the chance to retire and rest. The wind coming through the window that couldn’t be closed, making the noise that combined with the singer at the end of the corridor of the bus, playing an acoustic guitar with a colored cloth tied to it and some strange sticker close to the cords, with a meaning that probably only he would know and understand.
Houses, stores and empty, dirty lots went by behind other cars, competing in speed with the wooden and concrete poles that remained standing by the side of the street, providing the hold of the electric net of the city. Some graffiti in the walls, sharing space with the posters of some candidate to some political group…adult stuff!
Perhaps the best home work I ever got!
There’ll be days and weeks to remember the trip, the bus, the movie theater, the people seen from a different perspective, as a spectator of life instead of a participant. And the movie itself, whatever the story; the places and time where the story told by the white screen seemed to happen…so much to remember and analyze!
Sometimes living life doesn’t seem to be part of life, but when being a child and taken to the movies, I had the chance to step aside of it all for a brief moment and enjoy the magic of the movie, together with the magic of life and people, by watching from a distance to compare both, at the same time of taking a break of being alive.