My Sundance Experience (Fictionalized)

January 28, 2014 : 2:41 am | by Zach Toll

Zach left the theater, alone and confused about what he had just seen. “Did that woman really just masturbate with vegetables?” he thought. Stepping onto the bus, he spied a seat far in the back. People sat and stood around it. Normally, he would offer the seat to anyone looking to take it –not just a woman or an old person, but anyone –but, at this time, he was too tired to worry about the people who hadn’t taken the seat for themselves.

Upon sitting down, the older man next to him initiated a conversation. “That was some movie, wasn’t it?” he asked.

“Indeed,” Zach said, drawing the single word out so as not to sound laconic.

“What did you think of it?” he asked.

Zach did not particularly want to discuss Wetlands with the man, but he could see that he had no choice if he wished to be polite. “It was well made, but a little…unusual.” In truth, Zach loved the movie, not only because it was well made, but because it covered topics cinema usually runs from in fear. However, he could not say such things in good conscience to an elderly person.

“Pretty weird that the male nurse still wanted to fuck her, huh?” the old guy asked.

Zach’s eye’s widened. He was unused to medicare recipients using such language in public. Had this man, who probably already had several grandchildren, already drank a few High West whickeys? No, he was just that frank with strangers. “I mean, christ,” he said, “she shat the damn bed and he still took her home.”

Only an independent film festival could attract such a viewer, Zach thought. “Yeah,” he said, “I’m right there with you,” though he was not totally, having noticed a cute girl much closer to his age a few rows ahead on the bus.

“What other films did you like?” the old dude asked.

Zach took a moment to ponder the normal question. “I loved The Lunchbox, but a close second has to be Locke.”

“What’s The Lunchbox about?” the old man asked.

“It’s set in India. Over there, you can have a hot lunch delivered to you in the office from home via a service that operates on the trains. A woman sends her cheating husband a nice lunch one day with a love letter, and it goes to the wrong guy, a widower, and they begin an affair. It’s very cute.”

At this moment, the cute girl a few rows ahead turned around. “I thought that movie was awesome,” she said.

“Sounds like I’ll have to check it out,” said the old man. With that, he stepped off the bus. This surprised Zach even more than his use of questionably appropriate language and disregard for propriety concerning film topics.

“You making friends?” asked the girl.

“Always,” said Zach. “Always. Sit closer and be my next one,” he said.

“I think I’ll stay here,” said the girl, who had clearly heard her fair share of lines spouted from guys a little too cool for (film) school. “You can hear me, anyway, can’t you?”

“Yeah,” said Zach, not pushing things.

“You enjoying the festival?” she asked.

“A lot,” Zach said. “You?”

“It’s cool, but I just got out of Fishing Without Nets, and, honestly, I fell asleep. Not even being metaphorical; I literally fell asleep twenty minutes in.”

“Well now,” Zach said, unsure how to respond because he had kind of wanted to see that move. “I guess I should avoid it.”

“At all costs,” the girls said.

“I can’t even remember half the movies I’ve seen so far,” Zach said.

“Neither can I,” she responded. And, with that, the bus came to stop across the street from the Lakeside Condominiums.

“This is where I get off,” said Zach.

“Enjoy the festival,” the girl said.

“You too,” Zach responded, deciding not to try and meet up with her again, this being his penultimate night in town. Some things just aren’t in the cards, he thought.

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