Read this like you are watching a John Cassavetes film.
What theatre though?
Well, there are two on the same street I like. One is dirty and running out of money, and you really know it. I dumped a bag of popcorn all over the first row floor in one of its three cinemas just as I was sitting down to watch something. Embarrassed by the mess, I got down on my knees and with my bare hands and started sweeping popcorn back into the bag while the house lights were still on. The barren concrete was gritty with dirt. I would have just eaten the popcorn once it was back in the bag but a lot of stuff wound up in there with it, and my hands were grey and dusty. My rebuilt popcorn looked exactly like it had when the concession staff handed it to me a few minutes earlier. I explained what happened. They just handed over another bag with the kind of blank stare that said, "ok," even though I told them what happened.
That’s the thing. Nobody listens.
Any kind of departure from the repetition of something — like selling popcorn — will almost always manifest confusion.
Monotony lets the mind drift elsewhere while it lazily monitors for deviation, but it's not truly listening.
Try it. Order coffee. Respond to the staff’s service questions and order something as plainly as you ever could.
Then say, “it’s not your fault.”
"What?" They'll almost always respond with a need to hear what you said again because their mind has sent out an alert that the wrinkle you’ve created doesn't fit with routine.
"It’s not your fault."
They will laugh and smile with a little tension, because, even though they had you repeat what you said, maybe even twice but never a third, they weren’t really able to process what you said. What did he say?
Nobody is listening.
With fresh popcorn, I returned to the first row and happily ate my first meal of the day until the bag was empty. Then I got up and walked out without seeing the end.
I like the other theatre too. The cleaner one. It might also be out of money but you would never know it. It's pristine and aesthetically rich. Everything’s color-coordinated and the floors are carpeted. There’s a little bar that sits off the lobby. If John Cassavetes was a theatre it would most certainly not be that one. The rougher one, that’s John Cassavetes. The more real one, the one where you can feel the presence of thousands of bodies just by sitting in its worn out seats.
But I still like the fancy one better.
It’s where I saw John's film, Opening Night. Watching it was like someone took the other theatre down the street and put it on the screen of the nicer one so you could see rough corners and reality and beauty and fantasy all at the same time. The film is stark. So when John Cassavetes and Gina Rowlands act out a scene with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken sitting beside them you know it means something. That chicken.
And there was a lot of drinking.
I read a lot, I go out a lot, and I drink a lot. It's how I meet new and interesting people, especially after 10pm. Most people out past 10pm are interesting, especially if they’re alone. We almost always wind up talking about cinema. It's the only time anyone seems to listen to anything, even if it’s all forgotten about by morning.