It wasn’t that the chairs were uncomfortable. After shelling out for what had been billed as a “Premium Cinema Experience” they were practically four poster beds. The red velvet was new and plush, the back and headrest were at the ideal angle for viewing the screen and the armrests were sturdy enough to keep distance enough between strangers (and movable enough to close that distance for other purposes if and as required). Even the film itself was living up to expectations.
No, the problem wasn’t the upholstery. The problem was the people. The people who brought in food in crinkly wrappers. The people who couldn’t go more than three scenes without illuminating their phones, creating for the people behind them the galaxy’s most transient and irritating constellations. The people who slurped. The people who rustled. The people who TALKED.
Some time thereafter a small, experimental screening series started at the cinema. They never played on the larger screens and maybe they never would be in the theatres with the hydraulic seats, but the “Silent Movies” sessions became a modest success. The rules were simple: you could laugh at something funny, gasp at something shocking or discretely cry at something sad, but otherwise you were silent. The premium ticket price went to paying the ushers who ejected those who preferred, shall we say, a more interactive cinematic experience.
Not everyone understood the appeal, but those who did went all the time.
Introvert Fairy Tales: Cinderella. The party was in full swing when Cinderella made her escape. Curfews were such marvellous things; no one needed to know that they were self-imposed. The party was going well, but even with the quietest of corners to sit in or the most interesting of conversations to stumble into, there always came a point where enough was enough and she claimed a pressing need to be elsewhere. The need to leave was no less real for being voluntary. Goodbyes were said, plans were made to see people again and, finally, Elsewhere was attained.
Elsewhere could be anywhere: outside on the stairs with her shoes off, breathing deeply in the cool night air with naught by the stars for company, or equally back at home curled up in front of the fire with a blanket, slippers and a cup of tea, watching the sparks dance and the embers cool; indeed anywhere that gave her the time and space to think and reflect and unwind after an enjoyable evening.
Once upon a time there was a woman who never lived in a castle, never married a prince, and always did all her own housework.
She also never had paparazzi following her while she was on holidays so they could take topless pictures of her with a telephoto lens and distribute them for public consumption. So there was that.
Once upon a time there was a young woman called Belle who fell in love with a library. Sure, there was a guy and a rose and a particularly talkative tea set, but mostly there were books. And they all lived happily ever after.
Introvert fairy tales: Ariel grew up on a research boat with her dad. She had a happy childhood, helping him in his work as a marine biologist. When she got older her father decided she needed to come out of her shell and have more interaction with people.
She was invited to a party and asked to dance. It didn’t go so well. She never really got her land legs for a start and decided that, all in all, dancing wasn’t really her cup of tea. Everyone else was making small talk. She didn’t say much. She had nothing to contribute on the subjects of reality TV and celebrity gossip. She would happily have spoken for hours about something of substance, but this continual babble was boring her witless.
She went back out on the boat and continued the family vocation. She still doesn’t talk much, but she has been published in a couple of peer reviewed journals.