My wife went on a two-week vacation without me. Hmmm, maybe that’s redundant. Anyway, in an attempt to amuse myself one night, I went to see a movie.
“One ticket, please.”
“Just one?” asked the young lady. Then, she looked at me like I was a lost puppy.
“Yes, just one.”
I wish I hadn’t emphasized the word “just.” Suddenly, I felt very self-conscious. It seemed like everyone was staring at me.
There were a few people milling about the theater lobby. An elderly couple smiled. I think they recognized me. Then, I saw them whispering. Now, I was paranoid. What were they saying? Maybe, “Oh dear, his wife must have left him. She probably read his last column.” … “I always knew humor was a solitary business, but there’s nothing funny about being alone.” … “Poor Dick Wolfsie. He apparently doesn’t have a friend in the world.”
Flashback to that morning. My wife had informed me that she wouldn’t be home until very late that evening. I had already planned to spend the day at home to catch up on some work, write a few columns, arrange the next TV segment, prepare some speeches and maybe take a couple of two-hour naps.
That’s when I decided not to blow the entire day and that I’d go see a movie. True, I had never gone to a movie alone in my entire life. But how hard could it be?
Selecting a movie, for example, had always been easy. It usually went something like this: “Mary Ellen, let’s go to the movies and see ‘Shaft.’”
“Oh, a movie sounds nice. But let’s see ‘Rocketman’ instead.”
That was simple enough. Then, I would pick a time. “Let’s catch the 5 p.m., Mary Ellen, and get those matinee prices.”
“No, let’s go at 7, so I don’t have to rush home from work.”
“That’s a good idea.”
This time, I was on my own. I walked into the theater. But where to sit? No problem. It was always an easy decision. “Let’s sit up front, Mary Ellen.”
“No, that’s too close. Let’s sit in the middle.”
“OK, dear, but can we sit in the center of the row so I don’t have to turn my neck?”
“No, let’s sit on the aisle, so it’s easier for you to get us more popcorn.”
For this particular movie, I was without my consultant. Where to sit? There was only one other person watching “Yesterday” that afternoon and I needed someone to explain the movie to me. Plus, I felt sorry for the guy. He was all alone. When I sat down next to him, he moved six rows down. So much for being friendly.
The film was OK, but I thought the story line got really weird toward the middle. That’s because when I returned from the men’s room halfway through it, I walked into “Toy Story 4” by mistake.
I didn’t get popcorn and a drink because I forgot what size Mary Ellen tells me to buy. And I had trouble finding my car afterward because knowing where we parked has never been my responsibility.
I was glad when Mary Ellen got home. I have depended on her since we walked down the aisle together in 1980…to see “Kramer vs. Kramer.”