I Went to a Movie Theater For the First Time Since COVID Began — and Wow, I Missed It

I Went to a Movie Theater For the First Time Since COVID Began — and Wow, I Missed It

When COVID-19 first hit, everything from restaurants to salons completely shut down. Movie theaters, which are one of my favorite places to go, were closed as well, causing a whole slew of films to get delayed. However, with many mask mandates lifting due to an increase in vaccinations, things are slowly opening again. By the time I was ready to jump back into my favorite pastime, it had been almost a year and a half since I had watched a movie on a large screen with a massive bucket of overbuttered popcorn.

I was hesitant at first. I was unsure if I felt comfortable going into a crowded room where everyone would breathe, eat, and laugh together. The idea scared me, especially with the Delta variant going around. However, if there is anything I learned from sheltering in place for over a year, it’s to not take anything for granted. I decided to seize the opportunity while still keeping up with my own safety protocols.

I kept seeing commercials for In the Heights and desperately wanted to watch it in theaters instead of on a streaming service. I decided that if there was going to be a film that I would always remember as my first movie-theater trip since the start of the pandemic, it would be this one.

I figured that going to a movie theater during the week would be my best bet because it wouldn’t be as crowded as a Friday or Saturday night. Surprisingly, though, it was packed. From the lobby to the bathroom, there were people everywhere. When I first walked in, I debated coming back another time. However, I reminded myself that I was vaccinated, and I could always just put on my mask if I felt uncomfortable.

When I walked into the theater, almost every row was filled. While there were at least one to two seats between parties, I still felt like the rows were too close to each other. Luckily, the place where I ended up sitting didn’t have too many people around. However, I did feel a little weird eating when everyone else around me was also eating, since it meant that no one had their masks on. To ease my worries, I quickly scarfed down my popcorn and kept my mask on for most of the film.

“After the year we’ve all had, sometimes wanting to hide in a dark theater with a bunch of strangers isn’t such a bad thing after all.”

For the first 30 minutes of the movie, I was uneasy. While there was an individual who kept coughing the entire time (which still causes me to get those “What if it’s COVID” thoughts), in my particular case, I was squirming around for an entirely different reason. Due to the how much I’ve used technology to pass the time over the past two years, I feel like my attention span has decreased. Since I had been working from home for a while at this point, I had gotten so used to checking my phone every five minutes. Now that I was completely out of my element and in a dark theater where no phones were allowed, I had to force myself to focus on the large screen in front of me instead of the small one in my pocket.

I did eventually get into the movie. I found myself laughing, crying, and even singing to every song from the soundtrack. By the time the film ended, it really made me realize how much I missed the movies.

After this experience, I’m confident in saying that I’ll be going to the movies again. However, I think it’ll only be for a movie I absolutely want to see. For me, going to the movies offers such a unique atmosphere and feeling of escapism that you can’t find at home in front of a TV screen. It’s an incredible feeling, and after the year we’ve all had, sometimes wanting to hide in a dark theater with a bunch of strangers isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Lydia Livingston

Lydia is the newest member of the Genesis Brand family and has fit into the culture seamlessly. After graduating college, three years ago, Lydia made the transition to west coast life after her early years in NYC. She's an avid tennis player, animal rights activist and aspiring vegan chef.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *