Looking back at it now, I realized that for the most times I go to the movies, I spent at least 25 percent of the time eating, 20 percent on the movie (unless the movie is a cartoon or a story that would captivate me in the first ten crucial minutes) and the remaining 55 percent is used for sleeping. I can’t recall how many times I had to clap my hands over my ears every time buddy Rex of Super-Balita gives me the “if-you-only-wanted-to-sleep-why-don’t-you-go-home-and-sleep-comfortably” sermon. The hardest and most challenging thing for me in a movie house is to keep my butt glued to my seat in one position for even 10 minutes so by the time I leave the movie house, they don’t need to clean the seat.
Alas, even a tiny-winy 20-seater movie house don’t exist in Palau. It seems that every single house, no matter how small, owns a computer, television or a home video set. To make up for this lack, video rental shops are everywhere and for the first time, I found myself renting CDs and DVDs from $1 to $1.75 each to keep myself occupied (and sane—hehe!) after office hours.
Back at our old office, I could work to my heart’s content or surf the internet till my vision gets blurry, hence I didn’t find the need to resort to locking myself in my room with four or five CDs a night. We’ve just moved into a new office and unlike the old one where we each had a personal key, this is a huge building where only the bosses hold the two keys available so when they go home, we need to go out or be locked in.
In fairness, the video shops (95 percent of which are managed by either Filipinos or Chinese) are up to date with the latest movies though so what we usually did is to surf the net for the latest ones and rent them.
In exchange for the sitsirya and the softdrinks I often have to buy with the movie tickets back home, I invested in big huggable body pillows so I could recline in complete comfort on my bed and view the movies from my laptop. An officemate donated a pair of Dell sound boxes, and with the thick walls of my room which makes them almost-soundproof (my means of communication with my other housemates is through texting), I can raise the volume and turn off the lights to make it feel like I were inside a real movie house.
I still miss the movie houses where we get to see plenty of other people. A high school students before, we used to throw peanuts at couples kissing below us. Somehow, the movies are much more funnier or scarier (depends on the film) when you view it with hundreds of others inside a darkened movie house.
When I get to go home (maybe next year) I will find a chance to visit the movie houses at SM or Gaisano Mall which we usually go to. And this time I promise I won’t sleep anymore.
November 13, 2005 Sunstar Davao