A few days ago, I snuck out, took the bus to the mall and went and saw the new Bond movie, “Skyfall.” It was just like being in high school – skipping class and taking the big ‘ol school bus downtown, circa 1979. The only place you could see a movie back in ’79 was downtown. Suburbia was for sleeping. The city was for living. Of course, I always did these rampant trips by myself. I’d ponder out the window, thinking about life. Where do I want to go? What do I want to do/ be when I grow up? Or should I even grow up? I remember sneaking out to go see “Apocalypse Now.” Dreams of getting out of this town. Vietnam was so exotic, without the napalm, helicopters and tracer bullets in the background, of course. But it was somewhere, an escape outside the dormant middle class.
Of course back in ’79 the only technology we had were transistor radios the size of a house. On my most recent escape, I had to get all my technology in synch – forward the phone and email to my personal device, and most importantly make a playlist of the ten most rebellious songs I know. I’m a cruising now…skipping work, calling in sick, ready to hit the road. “Oh let the sun beat down upon my face…,”croons Robert Plant.
The bus is big and new and bright. It only takes ten minutes to get to the theatre not the hour and a half in ’79 and the bus actually runs on unleaded fuel. “Dawn is breaking everywhere, light a candle, curse the glare,” Garcia contemplates. I get to the theatre. I’m the new Bond. Danger my middle name. Ready to escape into foreign lands and make the world a better place. Time to leave this world for a couple of hours. Playlist hits, “We gotta get out of this place.”
To my amazement, it’s seniors’ day at the cinema. Every grey haired respectable citizen on the planet is at the theatre. Great, Bond saves a senior citizen home. Not what I had in mind. Is this my rebellion, running into a pack of seniors? Is this the new escape? Rock and roll and a rabid pack of seniors. I’m ready to run, but where? To the Geritol bar? “A Touch of Grey,” has a whole new meaning standing here in the line-up, waiting, waiting. I’m drowning in a sea of grey. I pull the plugs out of my ears. I’m the old man with his hair turning grey in “We gotta get out of this place.” It scares the crap out of me.
In the theatre, the folks behind me are talking, but it’s not my place to say anything. They are seniors. They’ve done their time and deserve my utmost respect. They can get up and yell if they want. A faint scent of urine floats by. Poor bastards. Or maybe that’s me. I bend over and sniff. Too close to call.
My rebellion has hit a road block. My escape is mired in retirement as I ponder the road ahead, circa 2012. But maybe that’s the point. I can’t run off on a bus to see a movie with unlimited possibilities before me as I did in 1979. This is not the seventies. We get older and as we do, the road gets narrower and narrower. But seeing all these seniors having the freedom to sneak off and see a movie on a Tuesday afternoon, maybe that’s the escape – the freedom. Maybe the road gets narrow with mortgages and kids but opens up again with retirement. Is retirement the new freedom? Ok, so freedom has a touch of urine, but who cares? Who are we trying to please anyway?
And I’ve also hit another road block. This is all fiction, of course. I was actually home on Tuesday afternoon working my butt off in front of a computer screen. In case anyone asks.