Theater of Pain

Pain I might be stating the obvious, but you should really think twice before seeing a late Saturday night (or any time or night, for that matter) showing of a big budget Hollywood  type movie at UA Court Street Stadium 12. I mean, unless you don't mind loud conversations, cell phones and yelling through the entire film. Is screaming "Kobe!" every 12 minutes or so, completely unprompted, some new fad with the kids? And did he mean the ballplayer/date rapist or Japanese beef? Either way, it made no sense in any context and I really like trying to make sense of things. My second favorite exclamation from various parts of the room, "Did you see that shit?!" Uh, considering that there's a giant screen prominently displayed in the theater, I think it's a pretty good assumption that we all saw that shit. Of course, I knew better. It's not like I would ever see X-Men 3 out of my own volition anyway, but good relationships are about compromise, or so they say.

It's a tolerable theater if you see something that's been out a long time and/or that young people would have no interest in or attention span for. I would seriously pay good money to force the X-Men audience to sit through something with lots of moody dialog and no action, or better: sparse dialog and no action-oh, better yet: subtitles, and a nonlinear or monotonous plot and a completely unsatisfying ending. Have you ever seen Rosetta? When I think anti-blockbuster, I always think Rosetta. This is a classic patience trying movie if you enjoy fast pacing and special effects. There would be a riot, though it might be fun to watch the little social experiment…from afar.

But then I have to be kind because hard as it is, I can remember being wee and inconsiderate (not like me now, all old and polite) and vividly recall taking over the loges (I had no idea what loges were, but the old deco signs remained and by context it must've mean balcony) at Mt. Hood Theater, the old fashioned uniplex where middle schoolers would congregate and laugh and run around and change seats and throw ice cubes and belch and generally cause trauma to any adults who were naïve enough to try and enjoy a double feature on a Sat. night. (The first time I ever got drunk on coolers with a bunch of sixth grade girls we ultimately ended up at the theater for View to a Kill.) The movies didn't matter, it was a social scene for preteens too young to drive. And it wasn't even air conditioned. Sitting through Dune and 2010 in 90 degree plus heat was peculiar torture for the young and ansty. I didn't think we were menacing at the time, just nuisances. But that was middle school. As a bonafide teen I was much more restrained and self-conscious.

It's so Brooklyn that you can go six blocks and the culture rapidly changes from teens on the verge of wilding to old drunk white men. Such is the difference between Court Street and Atlantic and  Hicks and Atlantic. I've passed this dive, Montero's,  a million times and have never ventured in. I think I was scared that it was a locals only place, meaning pre-1970s male residents. Minus the mini skirted and Led Zepplin teed young(er) bartender, the average age was easily 55 and I was the only female. Most drinkers were solo, serious drinkers, drunk and stoic or drunk and gesticulating and talking to the air. But it was good and cheap ($2 Rolling Rocks) and you could smoke, as you might expect in a room like a brown ashtray. The nautical décor, family photos and knick knack filled crevasses make it feel like a grandparents' basement, if your grandparents had a basement. Mine had a mobile home, which still managed to capture the nicotine stained, wood paneled aesthetic, complete with mugs reading "Damn I'm good" and "Hell, I'm better." I always found those to be eerily aggressive cups, not humorous in spirit at all.
Sometimes I hate hypochondriacs and I am one. Part of me gets convinced that I'm suffering an undiagnosed illness while the other part is irritated because the self-indulgence (but is it indulgent if you end up correct and sick?) trivializes the truly afflicted. I had no idea it was the 25th anniversary of AIDS, though I became aware after watching educational programming and skimming the news this weekend. But it's fitting because I'm waiting to hear back on test results this week. Not that I've engaged in any particularly risky activities lately, but I'm on a get my shit together health-wise mission. (I'm even entertaining the notion of getting up an hour earlier so I can exercise before work. This is an outrageous notion, as it pains me to wake up at 7:40 am as it is. Then I'd have to shower in the morning instead of night, what a mess, but my theory is that I'll be more awake and possibly be less drowsy, dizzy and sweaty during my morning commute and then I'd have more free time at night, though I'd feel compelled to go to bed one hour earlier, midnight instead of 1am.) I finally went to the dentist after nine years, and while doing the annual gynecology thing last week I figured why not get an HIV test. I haven't had one since '98 and well, I haven't always made wise moves since then. Worst case scenario is that I've had a virus growing for the past seven years. I fear cosmic payback for joking about having AIDS or cancer whenever I'm tired and feeling like shit (which is most of the time).

2 thoughts on “Theater of Pain

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