Part of the big let-down for Nigel and Aidan not making their flight to LA on Christmas was that their dad had purchased tickets for them to see Avatar that night. He canceled those tickets and definitely planned to take them at some point during their visit, of course. However, knowing that it’s a three-hour movie, I questioned whether Nigel would be able to sit through all of it – he usually doesn’t make it all the way through movies in the theater. He often needs a break from the sensory bombardment of a movie theater and has to take a few walks during the film.
But something tells me that he’ll sit through all of this one. I know because I saw it tonight, and I was enraptured. I got off work early to go see a late afternoon show, and it was sold out on a Tuesday. So I purchased a ticket for the 7 PM show and came back later. I, meaning myself. Flying solo. I am uber-introvert, going to movies alone and enjoying it. (I’ve taken myself out to dinner before, too.) I show up at the theater an hour early to get a good seat, and there is already a huge line. Even so, I am able to sit near the center, about three-fourths of the way back, which is my favorite area. I sit down next to a guy in his twenties with a scruffy goatee and watch as the theater fills to capacity. Moments later, I realize that not only is he scruffy, he stinks. I am accosted by the low-grade, but unmistakable, scent of permeating old sweat. As soon as I make this distasteful realization, another guy in his twenties with a full beard sits in the empty seat on the other side of me. They appear to not know each other, but they both are clearly hygienically challenged. The bearded one stinks too.
Are you kidding me? I yell in my head. What are the freaking odds? This is what I get for going to the movies alone! I get boxed in by two guys who are taking some time off from bathing. My olfactory sense is completely assaulted, and I momentarily consider leaving. How am I going to enjoy the movie while constantly inhaling these noxious fumes? But I tell myself that feces and vomit would be far worse and decide to employ shallow breathing and “tune out” the BO surrounding me.
And, no, nothing magical happened during the movie with regard to the stench. I wasn’t so enraptured by the movie that I didn’t stop every ten minutes or so and still notice the air around me. But it was tolerable, if only because I enjoyed the movie so much. Without going into a whole commentary about its humanitarian/environmentalist theme, I will say that it really affected me. What struck me the most is how we, as a whole, are perilously close to losing our sense of connectedness. I drove home crying, and it wasn’t because I’d been smelling old sweat for three hours.
I got home too late to call the boys. For some reason, I desperately want to talk to them about this movie, get their take on it. It’s obvious – missing them, I yearn to connect with them. But then I realize that I don’t need the phone to be connected to them. I can feel it at my core – the constant connectedness I have with them. It is always there. I know that they are well and having fun with their dad, while I enjoy some time alone. And I’m breathing more deeply now, too.