The older I get, almost like a poster-child (!) for stereotypical aging, I seem to be less inclined to try anything new than ever before. Even in the international in-flight entertainment, for which the choices were many--well, other than in that bizarre travel segment--not being adventurous meant that the options were significantly narrow.
Fellow passengers do not seem to provide entertainment either, these days. Back in the old days, there was always some drama or the other that kept me intrigued and involved. Like that one flight in which a passenger couple of rows away from me (thankfully, for reasons that will become obvious soon) started trying out every free alcohol there was on the serving cart. "I love your airline for the free booze" he even remarked. And soon threw up. Now, that is some real live entertainment, when I was comfortably seated far away from his puke's reach ;)
But, these days, people are immensely more civilized, polite, even teetotaling (is this a real word, or did I invent it?) it seems. The cabin crew do not hand out drinks to the tipsy either. So, that fun has been, ahem, watered down!
Thus, I was left with choosing from the familiar.
First up, Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times. Maybe because I am now old, and the movie is a lot older, Modern Times was not anywhere near as charming as it was when I watched it a couple of decades ago.
Perhaps movies lose their appeal and meaning when they are far removed from the contexts when they are made? But if movies are expressions of art, and when paintings and music and literature can seem to be timeless, shouldn't classic movies like Modern Times have a similar appeal?
Soon, I was bored, again.
I scanned the list yet another time, thankfully (for reasons that will become obvious soon.)
Apparently I had overlooked Casablanca in my earlier reading of the menu. I clicked on play.
A movie that is only so slightly younger than my mother. Yet, with every passing minute, it confirmed the idea that there can be timeless movies as masterpieces of art, similar to the prized paintings, memorable music, or the profound literature.
I have watched Casablanca quite a few times, and yet I was smiling and chuckling at the humorous lines as if it was my first time ever. When Captain Renault said, "It is a little game we play. They put it on the bill, I tear up the bill. It is very convenient," I laughed so loudly that my startled seatmate looked away from her screen in order to check what it was that I was watching!
Meanwhile, this old man knew it was time to expel some of the water that had been going in at a steady rate. Having watched Casablanca plenty of times, I knew when exactly I wanted to pause the movie. It was going to be when Ingrid Bergman's Ilsa looked at Humphrey Bogart's Rick with emotions filled in her eyes.
That moment came.
I hit the pause button.
I walked up to the restroom not bored anymore.
I switched on the cellphone.
My seatmate watched my actions. Perhaps I was providing her with entertainment? I couldn't care.
I clicked another shot just to make sure.
I switched the phone off.
I sat down, fastened the seat belt, and pressed the play button.
The next time, I will first scan the listing for Casablanca and watch it yet again. So what if I have become old!