I remember spending long afternoons watching movies at the El Rey theater in Salinas, California when I was growing up. My sisters and I would get dropped off and we would sit through two feature films, often staying through to the beginning of the third film. Then we would stumble out of the theater into the setting afternoon sun, eyes blinking and adjusting to our real lives after hours of living an alternate world on the big screen.
As an adult, I have not seen many movies in the afternoon. It always seems somewhat illicit and forbidden to be spending an afternoon in the movie theater. But in the months since retirement, I have seen a handful of movies in the afternoon. It is the perfect solitary activity and you can always find a secluded seat, away from conversations. There is always a guilty feeling though, lingering somewhere, as if I was sneaking away from a responsibility or a task to hide in the dark theater.
This week, I saw of showing of Phantom Thread and felt a tingle of alarm when the movie theater usher announced that the movie ran for two hours and thirty minutes. “Two hours and thirty minutes!” I thought. “I don’t have that kind of time.” But then I remembered. I do have that kind of time. I am retired. I don’t have a to-do list waiting for me, or a meeting to attend. My husband is with the caregiver until 5:00 and it was only 2:00. I have oodles of time.
So I sank back into the cushy leather-like chair, clutched my popcorn, and let myself get immersed in the fashion world of 1950’s post-war London.
And I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it.