Cinema night

Cinema night

When I posted the picture showing the 18°C temperature that we had here in Berkeley on January 30, I knew that I would somehow pay for it… In fact here it keeps on raining as if we were in Edinburgh. Accordingly, the last weekend has again been characterized more by housework and similar stuff than geographical explorations in the Bay. However, I wanted to do something interesting all the same. Finally, I thought that going to the cinema could be a suitable solution: watching a movie is always good, plus it is an effective way to practice my English comprehension.

The cinema in my neighborhood did not schedule anything particularly intriguing, so I decided to go to downtown, where indeed there are two multiplexes literally 80 meters far from each other. My initial choice was Fences, a drama film, but this was incompatible with my bus schedule, so I decided to go for Arrival, a science fiction movie. They are both candidates for the next Academy Awards, so either one would be a good solution anyways. Indeed, also in this case I would be likely to have time problems: Arrival lasts 20′ less than Fences, but the showing started 10′ later… Bottom line, 10′ or more of advertisements and trailers would be a problem… But sometimes we all have to make risky decisions 🙂

So I go to the cinema for the last showing of the day. Indeed the last showing is scheduled for 21.50, which is not really night, but we all know that here in the US the temporal organization of the day is moved backwards with respect to Italy (I think we all remember the American TV series for teenagers or so where the guy tells his girl “I’ll pick you up at 7”, of course meaning “after dinner”). However, good for me because it is less crowded.

Outside, the cinema has the typical American sign; inside, it is quite small and elegant, more like the multiplexes in Milan downtown that the huge multiplexes around the city. I did not take too many pictures, but here are two of them.

Maybe during the show I will be thirsty? Well, a bottle of water costs 4.50 $, so I guess that I won’t… By the way, the ticket costs 11 $, instead, which is very good, compared to the very high cost of living here.

Advertisements and trailers obviously last 13’… This might be a real problem for me, but never mind. The movie is really nice: it’s not Blade Runner, but it fully deserves my money, time and risk. If I understood correctly, the plot is about a young girl who falls in love with a vampire whose skin sparkles when it is under sunlight; she asks him to transform her, but he refuses and eventually… Ah ah OK, I’m joking. However, the film is a very useful English test: I manage to follow it quite well, even if I still miss something. No problem, I still have many months ahead to get to 100%.

Both due to a matter of principle and to the very engaging finale, I don’t want to go out before the end of the movie, even if I am in a very tricky situation. However, as soon as the closing credits appear, I dash out. When I reach the exit, though, I see two things: 1) a hurricane which appears worse than a monsoon in Kolkata, and 2) the 51B bus disappearing over the horizon among the waves.

Now I basically have three possible scenarios:

  1. Wait a bit for the weather to improve and then walk: it is about half an hour from the cinema to my apartment, so it is feasible.
  2. Call Mauro, one of the Italian guys here in Berkeley. During the evening, he had proposed to me to join him and a couple of other guys to have a beer in a bar; it was too late to change my plan, but the bar he mentioned is close to the cinema, so maybe he is still there and has a car…?
  3. Have a brilliant idea… But brilliant ideas never show up when needed, gosh!

Obviously I start from the second option! Unfortunately, Mauro is already home, however he suggests me to go with Uber, which could be a great solution. Indeed, I had planned to sign up some time ago, but then I no longer thought about it. Of course it may not be very easy to download the app, sign up and start using it on the spot, but the suggestion might well work.

However, in the meantime I moved to the bus stop, which is very close to the cinema and has a very nice canopy. The reason why I did that is not so clear, actually: maybe I unconsciously hoped that a bus would materialize in the dark, I don’t know! Anyway, when I’m there I give a look at the timetable of the other bus lines, in order to see if there is another bus which has a route more or less close to my home. Obviously all this ends in a complete failure: the daily service of the public transport company is over.

Suddenly, and precisley while I am texting to Mauro and giving a look at the bus map, a guy and a girl appear under the canopy. Uhm, they don’t seem to be there just to take shelter from the rain… If no bus is going to pass, then why are they here? Initially, I try to grasp it from their dialogues, but with no success. So I decide to directly ask them, but at that very moment the Night Safety Shuttle – and actually the Southside one – suddenly appears! As suggested by the name, it is the shuttle service provided by UC Berkeley to transport young students around the campus area at night. Actually I knew that these shuttles exist, but, maybe because the daily shuttle that I sometimes take is provided on working days only, I hadn’t thought about this possibility (and it is true that a similar service would not be super useful if it worked from Mondays to Fridays only…). I ask the guys what route it is going to do, but I can’t listen to the answer because it is already time to get on. Well, no problem: Southside is my area, so I jump on. Once onboard, the two students explain to me what is the actual route and I get confirmation that it is perfectly suitable for me: in few minutes I reach my bus stop. I will use Uber in another occasion 🙂

By the way, as soon as I got home, it immediately stopped raining…

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