By Vishani Ragobeer
You probably don’t know me but if you did, you would know that at least 90 per cent of my social life involves Netflix or Disney Plus. If you let me be, I will binge-watch show after show, without ever stopping to think about any other leisure activity.
As a TV fanatic, naturally I love the cinema. In fact, save and except for the whole requirement of having to pay to watch each movie at the cinema, I generally prefer this than being cooped up in my room, watching a film on my laptop or phone.
After more than a year of closure, due to the restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the local cinemas reopened last Thursday. And, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to head to the cinema at my soonest opportunity.
On Saturday, I left home one hour before the start time of the movie I wanted to watch. I had all of the essentials: my cash for the ticket, my hoodie for the cold, and my vaccination card and ID card to prove that I am vaccinated.
I chose Caribbean Cinemas at the Giftland Mall, at Turkeyen, just because it was logistically easier (and possibly because I wanted doubles as well).
If you don’t already know, when purchasing movie tickets here, you’re now asked to choose where you would like to sit. Because I am an early bird (at the cinema, not generally), this means that I get to choose my ideal seat beforehand- which is, by the way, squarely in the middle of the theatre.
With adequate social distancing measures in place, the seats are grouped in pairs. In my experience on Saturday, two people sat next to each other and the two to three seats were unavailable.
This is not a perfect system, though. If you’re planning on watching a movie in groups of three (or really, any number greater than two), it means that you’ll have to split up. That’s not half bad considering that we’re in a pandemic.
But, if you’re going to the movies alone, you just might end up being paired with someone who was the ‘third man’ in his group of friends. And that might be awkward- especially if you left your bag on his seat, hoping that no one would select that seat.
In my case, I had to taper my obnoxious reactions during ‘Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’ because this random teenager was sitting right next to me.
The other mildly strange thing about the ‘COVID’ cinema experience was that there was no sale of popcorn, nachos, or drinks – which are all, arguably, an integral part of the cinematic experience. But again, we are in a pandemic.
These awkward or strange things did not matter as much to me once I was in front of the big screen again, though. Aside from the movie itself, there’s just something about the big screen, surround sound music, and ambient lighting that makes watching a movie at the cinema so enjoyable.
Of course, there was also the late start to my movie and the intermittent ‘sticking’ of the screen at the beginning while the commercials were showing (and once during the movie). And of course, there was that one person who gets a phone call during the movie and has to walk in front of you. Ah yes, all the things I love about the cinema.
Seriously though, I had been hoping that cinemas would be allowed to reopen for months now and it was a rollercoaster of emotions for me when the reopening was announced but the cinemas said they couldn’t afford to reopen.
I’m glad that it all worked out because now, I get to spice up my relationship with Netflix by going to the cinemas at every possible opportunity. Warn my friends that they’ll see me even less now!