Life Resumes

The 7 p.m. screening 
of “The Worst Person in the World” 
at the cinema down the street 
was pretty packed last night. 

Couples on dates, groups of friends, 
solo showgoers (like myself) who got there early to get good seats. 
How many were seeing their first movie 
outside the house in months, or years?

A week ago, Jackass Forever
was my first film back in theater seats,
since Uncut Gems, two years ago.
I think. Maybe. 

I went to the movies because going to the movies 
is, theoretically, enjoyable. 
It’s one of the activities that, before the languishing set in, 
was central to my idea of a life well lived. 

I went because I was attempting 
to practice behavioral activation
the theory that your actions can influence your mood
when motivation and inspiration are in short supply.

Taking my feelings to the movies was, on balance, successful.
Being in an audience, emoting in concert, 
even squeezing past the bitter-enders in my row who sat 
all the way through the credits, felt good. 

It was like a two-hour workout 
for my weakened living-life muscles,
and thus with the hubris of a new pseudo weekend warrior 
I resolved to hit a museum the next day.

In the tidy narrative I’d like to tell,
the following afternoon finds me wandering MoMA,
awakening to the healing power of art.
Instead, I skipped the museum.

The best part of my weekend
wasn’t any generic cultural outing,
but the virtual documentary-watching party some friends
who live in Wyoming and Florida and Toronto. 

It seemed absurd that I needed to grit
my teeth to engage in something
that was supposed to be fun.
A weekly video date, it’s equal parts fun and fulfilling.

What started as a substitute for socializing
has become a source of joy in its own right.
After lonely writing most weekends,
it felt good to stretch my proverbial legs but be reminded of time.