' ' Cinema Romantico: Closing Down for Awhile

Friday, October 08, 2021

Closing Down for Awhile

This is the last time I’ll mention the 35mm screening of “Last of the Mohicans”, I swear, though this isn’t even about the screening or the movie. No, it’s about this guy a few seats over who was talking to his friend before the screening started. As I gathered it, this guy used to write about film for a living but, as many who have tried writing about film for a living soon ascertain, it was not putting coffee in the coffeemaker. So, he took a day job, still writing about film at night but confessing a salaryman’s lifestyle was not conducive to his best work. Kind of a lose-lose situation. Even if it wasn’t 2021 and I wasn’t wearing a mask, I wouldn’t have approached him or chimed in because I’m an introvert-introvert, but I spiritually high fived him nonetheless. Sir, I thought while internally nodding along, I feel your pain. 


I saw a headline a week or two ago, though now I can’t source it, so maybe I just imagined it to explain away my own state of mind, about how a large percentage of Americans queried for some survey felt less hopeful now than they did at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. True, I did not exactly feel hopeful back in March 2020, more scared out of my mind. But the contagion’s relentlessness, even as things have bettered to a certain degree in the States, has so methodically beaten me down that it’s hard to feel anything but exhaustion, mentally just trying to put one foot in front of the other, frequently struggling to accomplish even that . Why just this week I went out to attend my friend’s surprise birthday party. As I sat there, however, at the restaurant, waiting, along with My Beautiful, Perspicacious Wife, understandably assuming I knew how to read a calendar, and wondering why no one else had shown up, it suddenly dawned on me, with a humiliating spark of recognition, that I had shown up on the wrong day. It was Monday and the party was Tuesday. It has become commonplace in this strange stay-at-home present to say time has become meaningless, that the days all bleed together, and in that moment, for me, it was no longer just an expression; I genuinely had no idea what day it was.


Recently I saw Courtney Marie Andrews at Old Town School of Folk Music, my first live music show since January 2020. I love live music because it’s a way to get outside yourself, to have the music subsume your brain in lieu of, like, you know, everything else. I had missed that sensation terribly, to be somewhere else, figuratively as much as literally, but after Andrews’s first couple songs, I realized I had barely even heard them, which is not in any way a commentary on her stellar performance but my own state of mind, still unable to tamp down the buzzing in my brain of the last 20 months. I got locked in eventually, I focused and I listened, but I really had to concentrate, which seems like the direct opposite of the concert as a waking dream. I enjoyed the show, honest I did, but it didn’t clear my mind.

Tomorrow I leave for Minnesota’s North Shore, renewing my family’s annual-ish trip there after it was called off last year, which is why Cinema Romantico will be going dark for a week or so. The place we stay, it’s right on Lake Superior, the deck perched over the water so that it feels like you’re on the deck of a ship, only the horizon ahead of you. I plan to sit and stare out across the water for as long as it takes to finally not think about anything at all.

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