I went to a 12:02 a.m. screening of “Prometheus,” one of the most unsettling films I’ve seen in a long time. Not horror-movie scary, sci-fi-movie creepy. It left me so jittery that when we got home at about 2:45 a.m. I couldn’t go right to sleep.
Instead I added video codes to today’s MSN Money post, cleaned up my e-mail inbox and finished tidying the scene of an earlier kitchen mishap involving overboiled blueberries (apparently I have something against my friend’s stove).
It was 4 a.m. before I finally went to bed, which probably isn’t the healthiest sleep habit. The kettle corn consumed at the theater wasn’t so smart, either, no matter how much I try to convince myself that popcorn = corn = daily vegetable intake.
But damn, it was fun. My friend’s got me hooked on midnight screenings. We’ve seen five since I got here.
Yep, five full-price shows. While I rarely go to the movies in Seattle (and then usually with a free movie ticket) and never buy popcorn, up here I pay full price for a late-night show and get both kettle corn and a beverage.
There’s something delightfully illicit about being in the theater when I should be in bed.
Out of character
I flash back to my childhood, when an aunt would take my siblings and me to the drive-in. She’d put blankets and pillows in the back of her station wagon in case we conked out.
I barely remember the movies except that they were Disney flicks (“The Three Lives of Thomasina,” “The Parent Trap,” et al.). What I remember is feeling daring and wicked – out past my bedtime, and wearing pajamas in a public place! (Even if we were confined to the vehicle – no drive-in playground for us.)
Of course, my aunt wasn’t dropping $10 per person for snacks. She brought along Kool-Aid in an insulated jug and, if I recall correctly, home-popped popcorn in a brown grocery bag. And she paid by the carload, so admission was probably a dollar for all five of us.
Midnight movies are fun, not frugal. I enjoy being out with my friend, eating something I don’t eat back in Seattle and seeing the film before almost everybody else. At that hour there’s a feeling of holiday, of getting away from what we should do (go to bed at a decent hour, eat fat-free and unsugared vegetables) and choosing something totally out of character.
Out of character for me, anyway. Maybe some people go to midnight movies all the time. If so, beats me how they get up for work in the morning. My eyes are pretty heavy the next day even if I go to bed right at 2:30 and sleep until 10 a.m. Seven and a half hours of sleep that start at that time of day remind me of the old saying, “It’s never late until it’s two, and then it’s two late.”
Guilty pleasures: The best kind?
That next-day grogginess is a small price to pay for the experience. Midnight movies are another example of my “I save where I can so I can spend where I want” mantra: The money I don’t spend buying wine, shopping recreationally or paying for car insurance is money I can spend on a first look at “Men in Black 3.”
For you that might mean doing without a second vehicle so you be an at-home parent for a few years, or having roommates in order to live in a downtown apartment. We all have different entries for the “not that important” and “totally worth it” columns in life’s ledger.
Driving home with my friend at 2:30 in the morning and rehashing sight gags from “Dark Shadows” is just fun. Sure, I could see the movie for $6.25 at 11:30 a.m., but I choose to do it this way.
Finally I’ve reached the place where I can allow myself a little diversion even if it doesn’t make absolute financial sense. At least I’m getting plenty of mileage out of the $3 refillable soft-drink cup that I bought last November.
Readers: What’s your favorite form of non-frugal escapism? Do you find you have to justify a guilty pleasure or do you just roll with it?
- Let me eat cake
- Frugal-hacking my way through a month without pay
- The day I saved Heckboy
- Hey! I didn’t win the Mega Millions!