No smoker’s breath passes up across the projector lens, is carried down the tiered rows to ghostdance on the silver screen. No fan rattle invades the ears of those in the back row.
Dust motes – no longer hand-drawn animated fairies, demons, pixies – swim up through the light-stream in silence.
A cough, perhaps.
A stifled belch, and the crunching, grinding, swallowing of popcorn or cheese-soggy nachos.
Adverts. People making use of the time allotted to such shitty salesmanship to have a last-gasp dick around on their mobile phones before the feature starts. Texting someone or other. Updating a status, a location, mapping their whereabouts and whispering, affectless, look where I am.
Smartphones going to blackout, mostly, like fireflies or dry lightning dying. Caught splat against the windscreen of a car as it races into that wide-open vagueness direct after dusk. No particular destination in mind.
Waiting for the trailers. Rattling by on the highway beside them. Haulage company names on the side. Sloganeering for this or that way of life. Fitting so carefully into one lane or another.
Nobody really paying attention.
This, the point between awake and sleeping, hasn’t really altered. Not anything like as important as the dream will be, when it comes.
And, when it comes, it unfolds in such a way as to keep all eyes fixated, flitting, open. Not necessarily entertained, or enlightened, but diverted from anything else they might not want to see.
Light does still come out through that little square hole near the ceiling, and does still make its way to the screen. But that screen seems more and more like the inside of a blindfold, less and less like a canvas rigged and tricked-out to do magic, show motion, make art.
A lot of these hi-def dreams, they don’t seem to have morals or meanings. No real interpretation is required or rewarded. Eyes watch, but what they see seldom makes it back to the critical faculties. If it did, maybe the eyes would go into lockdown.
A lot of these hi-def dreams are things that can’t be fully recalled or described after waking. The house lights go on, and that lone, muted torchbeam is consumed, garbled within them.
Some people rush faster for the exit than others.
They can smoke outside.
And, besides, there’s always somewhere else to be. Maybe some workplace to visit, succumb to.
And a TV back home. Or a laptop, or a tablet PC, or their phone. Watching videos on the train with no headphones. Fellow passengers get tinny sound but no pictures.
Nobody focuses much through the windows. Blur-blend of grey into green and back again. More trailers.
Some people simply sit tight til the end of the credits.