This current state of isolation reminds me of the 2015 movie Room based on the novel of Emma Donaghue, about a woman trying to escape the hovel where her husband has kept her and her son captive for seven years. I watched this on a plane in September on the way to Barcelona for ESMO 2019. Years ago I have resolved to only watch fluff during long flights, but Eleesabeth Holmes has lovingly recommended this film. Thankfully the movie is not formatted as a suspense/horror film, so there are very few jumpscares or gore. No last-minute whacking with an axe as the lead star escapes out of the Room.
After Room I watched Alone/Together. Friends have been raving about this movie for quite some time and I was yet to catch on. It was probably not a good idea, though, to see it while taking multiple shots of whiskey given by the rather generous flight attendant, because an hour into the movie I was a sniveling, drunken mess. I particularly identified with the character of Liza, because for months I’ve been bugging friends to join me in my upcoming 3-day trip to New York. Sadly I wasn’t able to drag/bribe/blackmail anyone to come.
“Wag masyadong mataas ang expectation, ha,” my friend ANL advised when I finally got to Manhattan in November. I only had 3 days, so I walked around Times Square the night of my arrival to get some of the tourist trap attractions done and over with. In the first 30 minutes of my walk I got accosted by 3 homeless guys asking for drugs, and it suddenly occurred to me that I could very well become a sex crime victim like in my favorite TV show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit with the intro:
“In the criminal justice system, sexually-based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories. DUN DUN!” Morning joggers would then discover my defiled corpse behind some bushes in Central Park twith a double-headed dildo in my ass.
As if to really tempt Stabler and Benson to rescue me, on my way back to the hotel I went inside an XXX Adult Shop. The store clerk looked stoned and there were no customers. The walls were covered by dusty VHS cassette tapes of porn, all kinds of vibrators, and leather implements. At the back were empty cubicles for quick fellatio, their curtains open. It was like I time-travelled to 1995. DUN DUN!
The next day I registered for the morning session of the conference and proceeded to check out more touristy sites as meticulously outlined by Monakiki and ANL. I had pizza for lunch. “Akala ko ba masarap ang pizza dito?” I messaged ANL as I struggled to finish the huge slice of bland cheese pizza I got from a sidewalk store. It turned out I got into a super budget low-quality pizza joint–no wonder each slice was only 50 cents and everyone in the queue looked homeless. The guy in front of me was even having severe tremors from alcohol withdrawal–it’s been ten years since my toxicology rotation, I wouldn’t know what to do if he suddenly fell into a coma.
|“I want to see The Met!”- Liza|
To my delight the theater I was looking for that shows Jagged Little Pill The Musical was just behind my hotel, The Row NYC (the location was the only good thing I could say about that hotel, with its surprise hidden invisible charges, staff in perpetual PMS, and grime everywhere). I enjoyed Jagged Little Pill immensely, but by the time I watched Wicked the following night jetlag has taken over and I slept through half the show. I woke up astonished that it was already about to end. “Huh, tapos na yung Defying Gravity?” I idiotically mumbled to my Middle Eastern seatmate.
|Not the best movie to watch while
abusing airplane whiskey
The wind outside was supposedly unusually chilly for November, but I still got to go around the theaters to check out actors coming out the back doors. Ed Harris was signing autographs for To Kill A Mockingbird, and I immediately remembered my movie of choice every time I want to feel depressed, The Hours, where everyone is suicidal. I also caught cutie Nick Robinson (Love, Simon) having selfies with fans. There were very few people and I could have taken a photo with him, but the humidity, the jet lag eyes, and tremors from the worsening weather made me decide against it. I took a couple of shots and then the cold killed my phone. And just like that I had one day left in New York, so it was the perfect time to do the Liza Soberano whine I’ve always wanted to whine— “But hon, I want to see the Met!”.