Whenever I’m given the chance, which is to say whenever I give myself the chance, I remind the audience I’m writing for that we are in the middle of an ongoing pandemic. I know I’m telling the truth, and I expect the worst someone could react to being confronted with that information is to get mildly annoyed, an outcome that I hope nags at them for the rest of the day.
Most recently, I reminded my readers of “the ongoing pandemic” in a blog post yet to be published on my library’s website. “The ongoing pandemic” halted film and TV productions, but even though the parameters of one possible adult summer reading program path participants can take — reading a book that inspired a movie or TV show that came out in the 2020s — are narrow, production started back up rather quickly.
It’s just a reminder, baked into the sweetness of “normalcy.”
The last movie I saw in a theater pre-COVID ravaging the United States was Little Women, the 2019 Greta Gerwig interpretation of the famous novel, all bright and shiny and star-studded. I saw it on Christmas, in the morning, because it would be cheap and because the theater would be empty.
I didn’t go to the movies that much before the (ongoing) pandemic. Maybe once or twice a year, save the emergence of a film I simply had to see six times. Plus, I was usually either too broke or I was less broke but couldn’t justify spending a double-digit amount of money to take a chance on a movie I might not like.
So it made sense that my first movie back in a theater during COVID was Spider-Man: No Way Home. Low stakes, absolutely no idea what’s happening in the grand scheme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe because god knows I’ve only ever watched the Spider-Men and Black Panther, and would I love it? Yes, unequivocally.
Then I saw The Batman in the theater — three times, because it so fits my personal brand to sit in a dark room for three hours and watch a brooding white man I had a crush on in high school be the ultimate sad goth boy. I saw Everything Everywhere All at Once in the theater, a delight and a queer mindfuck of its own.
At the end of April, I caught my first really bad cold in several years. One night, as I lay in bed shivering and not quite able to breathe through either nostril, and uncomfortable still because the air I was getting through my mouth felt too cold, I put on a cloth face mask to try to warm my breath as it went in. Certainly, the reason I still wear a mask in public is because I don’t want to get sick. If the inconvenience of being sick can be avoided, tell me how, and I’ll do it. Anything to not have to wear a mask in bed, or worse.
I was wearing my mask in the theater every time the trailer for Nope played before Batman, which I saw once in Wisconsin and twice in Washington. In conclusion, the pandemic is ongoing, and Nope is the movie I want to see.