COMING OUT IN APRIL, 2023:
NON-OCCURENCE AT THE MULTIPLEX
Much as I ended up enjoying the movie, before it started I had a somewhat unnerving - and thought-provoking - encounter.
Probably because it was the middle of a Friday afternoon, the movie house was pretty empty and Tom and I were the first to arrive in the theater where "M3gan" was showing. After we settled into our seats in the back row I decided to hit the restroom before the movie started.
As I was walking down the hallway towards the restrooms, I crossed paths with a man walking in the opposite direction, towards the theaters. He was a young white guy, looked to be in his twenties, tall and lanky, slightly scruffy hair, slightly scruffy beard, wearing a slightly scruffy baseball cap, slightly scruffy jacket, jeans and hiking boots. As we passed I smiled and said "Hi" and he smiled and said "Hi" back, this being the Ohio way when two people pass each other in a public place.
But as soon as we passed I was hit with the thought: Young, slightly scruffy-looking white guy walking by himself down the hall in a movie theater...
My mind started ticking away: He wasn't wearing a backpack, but what if there was an AR 15 tucked into the waistband of his jeans? What if he was headed to our theater? What if he got Tom before I got back? What if after I got back he stormed into our theater brandishing his AR15? There was only Tom and me in the back row...the rule is hide, run, fight, but there'd be nowhere to hide or run...I envisioned Tom and me dropping down behind our seats, then me quickly crawling to the end of the row, where I'd suddenly spring out into aisle, hopefully take the shooter by surprise and ram into him, knocking him backwards and causing him to tumble down the steps and drop his gun. I'd then grab his gun and hit him with it.
When I arrived back at the theater the shooter wasn't there, only Tom and a group of four young people seated a few rows in front of us. I breathlessly told Tom about the scruffy young white guy in the hallway and my plan for in case he turned out to be a shooter and came to our theater. Tom sighed and said that they guy probably wasn't a shooter, but just an ordinary young white guy dressed like young white guys dress, taking a bathroom break like me and heading to the theater to rejoin his friends and watch "Avatar."
Turned out that Tom was right about the guy not being a shooter. He probably was just an ordinary young white guy heading back to the theater to watch "Avatar" with his friends.
But here's the point: What kind of a country do we live in when a 71-year-old lady can't go to the movies without worrying about shooters? And scruffy young white guys can't go to the movies without worrying about old ladies worrying about them being shooters?
We know what kind of a country we live in. And yet I keep going to the movies. And dreaming on.