I was in a shopping mall and was debating whether to go to a movie which was supposed to begin at 2 p.m. It seemed I had already been to a movie that morning and that sitting in theaters wasn't really the best utilization of my time. Nevertheless, I walked to the cinema inside the mall and looked at the marquee.
Six different movies were playing on six different screens; but I was only interested in one, which seemed to have something to do with a man on a raft. I decided to go and I walked toward the ticket stand. Only now did I notice a long line waiting to buy tickets. However, the line was broken for a space of about five meters right before it reached the ticket stand due to someone's not paying attention to its movement. I didn't intend to cut into line, but I was already here anyway in the empty space and I thought I might just go ahead and get my ticket. However the line started moving again to fill up the space and I thought it would be best to walk back to the end, which I did.
I waited quite a while in line; but when I was finally near the ticket booth I got out of line and went back to the end again. Once again I waited and when near the booth went back to the end. I thought that was the proper procedure and that by going to the end I would reach the ticket booth quicker. The next time I came close to the ticket booth, however, I realized I would be better off to buy the ticket at this point instead of repeating the waiting over and over.
I stepped up to the booth for my ticket, which was supposed to cost $2.50. I still didn't have my money ready and I had to take time to dig out my billfold, search through it for the money and then give it to the girl in the booth. I handed the black-haired girl (about 20 years old) a $10 bill. She seemed impatient with me and she quickly wanted to know which movie I wanted to see.
I couldn't remember the name of the movie. I motioned to the marquee where the title was written in bold black letters, but I noticed that some words were missing and the title couldn't be read. The words remaining looked to me like "Dr. Extasis" and I told her I wanted to see Dr. Extasis although I knew that wasn't really the name of the movie. She finally grasped which one I wanted to see and although obviously disgusted with my lack of sense gave me my ticket.
She handed me some bills for change, but I still needed 50 cents and she indicated I should count out 50 cents from a basin-like recess in the counter where there were various groups of coins. I took one group with two dimes and a nickel and another with three nickels and a dime. I was given a blanket which I would apparently need and I finally walked into the concession area.
The first thing I noticed there was the large number of young people (mostly teenagers) in the theater. It seemed as if they should be in school in the middle of the afternoon like that.
I walked into the theater. The lights were still on and the movie hadn't yet begun. It seemed crowded inside, but I saw a large group of seats in the middle about eight to twelve rows back from the frontómy favorite area. I wanted to go to the toilet before I sat down so I hurriedly laid my blanket and sports jacket on the seat I wanted to save from the growing crowd.
I then headed toward the restroom, which I thought was through a door to the left of the screen. On my way I noticed that the movie was starting even though the lights were still on. I thought the management was committed to beginning on time even if the lights had to be left on to let the remaining people find their seats. It seemed like a good idea.
For some reason I wondered what kind of crowd would be drawn in if a movie with John Bellushi were playing.
I walked through the door beside the screen and up some stairs which quite a few other fellows were also ascending. At the top of the stairs I turned left and saw a toilet stall with the word "Men" written on it. I opened it but someone was inside sitting on a commode. I quickly shut it and began walking along the row of stalls looking for an empty one, but they all appeared to be occupied. Finally, I found an empty one at the end and I hurried to get it before anyone else beat me to it.
I went in, shut the door behind me and sat down. I began to reflect a bit on what I was doing. I realized I was in Dallas and that I had just returned from being in another country. I felt ill at ease here. I thought I should have gone to Paris instead of returning to Dallas. I had been contemplating moving to Paris for years and I felt as if I was ready to settle down there. I didn't want to continue moving about like I was doing; I simply wanted to begin building a life in Paris. Nevertheless, here I was again in Dallas, a place I really didn't want to be.
I knew a good movie theater was in Dallas which played old vintage movies. I needed to get its schedule. I still didn't have a place to live. I thought if I could only find one very quiet room it would be all I really needed. It could be noisy outside my room just as long as it was quiet inside.
I felt at ease in the stall until I looked up and noticed that the door to my stall was open and that two fellows (probably in their early 20s) had seated themselves at a table directly in front of my stall and were looking right at me. I didn't know how the door had come open since I was sure I had shut it. I reached over and pulled the door shut again, but I realized it needed to be locked from outside. I reached my hand under the stall and finally managed to lock it, but I could see that the fellows were still looking at me through the cracks of the door.
I felt so uncomfortable I decided to leave. I had taken off the top part of a pair of long underwear while I had been in the stall and I wanted to put it back on even though I noticed that it appeared rather dirty. Plus I realized I still had a blanket with me that belonged to the theater. I didn't think I was going to need it and I wondered where I could leave it.
I walked out of my stall into the actual restroom and laid the blanket on a sink. I saw a black fellow there cleaning up and I thought perhaps he would take it for me. I hoped it wouldn't be necessary to turn the blanket in out front when I left. I started to ask the fellow what I should do with the blanket and I almost started speaking to him in Spanish. I had the Spanish word "Debo" on the tip of my tongue to ask "Should I" when I realized I was no longer in another country but in the United States. I began wondering if I could speak English with a foreign accent and I failed to ask the fellow anything.
For the fact was I had a more pressing concern: I needed to urinate. I hadn't been able to in the stall. I saw some urinals and headed for one. I stepped up to it and tried to urinate, but nothing seemed to happen and I was beginning to feel quite uncomfortable. Finally, however relief came. As I urinated I also pulled out a tooth brush and began brushing my teeth.
I had also been carrying around with me a large block of white salt normally used to give tocows or deer. I had set the salt in front of me near the urinal and I looked at it as I stood here. It appeared that some water had gotten on it and part of the salt had been eaten away, leaving some cavities in it.
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