I don’t know if I’m alone on that one. Has technology totally done us in? People can’t even figure out tips anymore unless their cell phone has an option for it. I think about going to the movies. I love going to a theater to watch a new movie. There’s something so exciting and special about it that I’ve felt since I was a kid. You walk into this room in the dark, look for a seat as your shoes squeak off the sticky floor, and wait patiently. There’s the key—patience. The movie plays at its convenience, not yours, meaning you have to actually want to see it, not just put on a movie at any time because you are in front of the TV.
Maybe you’ve got some snacks or popcorn, an enormous soda. The screen goes a bit to the side and people yell, but it gets fixed. The noise of the projector at the back of the room, and the imperfect sound. These minor things that retain the human element, and remind you that you are in fact, simply watching something, but not involved. We used to have trivia to entertain us as we waited, though now it’s commercials, and they keep coming up with more complex food and ways to make you feel like you’re at home. But if ask me, I want to feel like I’m out and doing something. If I’m watching the movie at home, I’ll pause it and go to the bathroom. At the theater, I wait until the end.
But going to the movies isn’t such a simple thing anymore, mainly because of the technology. I imagine in the 1930s, people would pack movie theaters and watch the news reels before the show, talking of FDR and the New Deal, why you should buy government bonds, and how the Germans were preparing for war as the crowds grumbled. Cinemas were packed because it was a special evening out, and you weren’t able to go see a movie at home after leaving. It was a treat.
Now, you don’t even have to leave your house. Who can blame you? Movies cost $10.50, or whatever they are by now. You have to deal with 10 commercials before the previews, which used to be the best part because it gave you a reason to come back. But you don’t have to anymore. Blue Ray and On Demand killed the DVD and rental store which killed the VHS which killed the cinema which killed Vaudeville which killed plays and the opera which had been performed since Ancient Greece. You no longer have to use your imagination because the studio tells you exactly what Outer Space is like. For 2 hours in your living room while watching Apollo 13, you are in Space, or whatever they say it is.
I had Slingbox for a couple of months until the new software update somehow backfired and no longer will allow me access to TV from the United States. Slingbox used to let me watch shows and movies from my lap top in bed, a comfort which has totally taken away the allure of going out for a new show. It’s broken now which is certainly disappointing, but on the other hand, it will get me to look for something else to do again. I read so many books in Ecuador when I had no TV. There’s always something to see in Buenos Aires. And I might just take myself down to the movie theater to see what’s playing.
Above: Photo by thelightgatherer