He must be one of the last few on this island to have not caught some sci-fi flick that raked in the billions – according to a news report he heard over the Beeb this morning. The running joke that he had been boring people with was how The Dark Knight was the last film he watched in a movie theatre. It didn’t matter he has no idea with whom he had watched it. This is notwithstanding the fact that one of his co-workers had been reminding him every other day to watch the film about blue aliens.
To end that discussion, he would quip back with “remind me when it’s shown on Channel 5”.
So the torrent of recommendations from people to watch it made him uncomfortable. Sometimes, he was tempted to just tell some of these people off about they could just throw out an invitation and chances are they could choose who they could scoot off to some spiffy movie hall to catch the latest blockbuster, but not him.
Have they forgotten about the existence of social beggars? He would rage in his heart.
Over an MSN conversation a few days ago, a friend based in China commented that he shouldn’t be a silo. “Go out and embrace the opportunities!” his friend advised. “I’m but a loner,” he reminded for the umpteenth time.
There are many things he wouldn’t mind doing on his own. He found lunching alone one of life’s better pleasures, just because it would eradicate the need and possibly the strange temptation for people to talk about work during that hour’s break from it. There was no need for banter, off-colour jokes and the occasional small talk just for the sake of being with co-workers during lunch. Or worse, being put in a position where he had to reveal stuff about his private life (e.g., “What is the circumference of your girth?”).
He could walk into the church every weekend, sit at the pews and then shuffle his feet out two hours later unnoticed. He would choose to sit among strangers, minimising the need for more small talk. There wouldn’t be the usual delay and hanging around while waiting for people to do their rounds of catching up among their friends. There wouldn’t be a need to say how great his week was to people who asked, when he had the most horrid time of his life.
He could travel alone too. In 2005, he spent six days visiting the ancient temples of Siam Reap without a companion. From 2006 – 2009, he would make his yearly “pilgrimage” to Hong Kong where he would fade into the sea of millions of faces. In the day, he would wander around the streets of Mong Kok, visiting the Hong Kong version of Sim Lim Square, poking around the back alleys which may just be one step away from a gastronomically pleasant discovery, haggling with loud-mouthed youths for discounts on dri-fit T-shirts, and settling down for some early afternoon dim sum at restaurants. At night, he would retire to his hotel where he would doze off to those old black and white Cantonese films shown on the telly.
So, yes, there are tons of things in life he could do alone. But not watching a movie. The sight of the staff at the ticket counter cocking her eyebrow when he announced that he only wanted one ticket; the feeling of walking into the dark theatre hall on his own; the thought of being the subject of an innane conversation among couples in the hall about how this weird guy was catching a movie on his own; the possibly unhealthy practice of having to negotiate a packet of popcorn all by himself; and – this is more horrifying than the rest – having no one to dissect the film with after walking out from the hall; simply put him off watching a movie on his own.
If there was one activity on God’s good earth he couldn’t do alone, it would be to watch a movie.