July 2020 was the hottest month ever recorded in Phoenix, Arizona.
To beat the heat, on the first day of August, with another day of 110-plus-degree temperatures looming, Tom and I retreated indoors to Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale to accumulate five thousand steps.
This is the same mall where in any other year we could have imagined taking in a matinee on a similar scorching summer Saturday.
But not in 2020. Even though the sign above the escalators declares “See You at the Movies!”, the only bodies standing near the entrance to the Harkins Camelview multiplex were a cluster of zombie-like faceless and maskless mannequins in a nearby store window. Everyone else in the mall knew better. They were wearing masks.
The good news is Tom and I are the proud owners of about three hundred of our favorite films. We can watch any one of those in our living room or select something online, via Netflix or cable to occupy our time in the comfort and air conditioning of our home.
But we still miss the experience of sitting in a movie theater together. Sharing a medium-size popcorn (no butter, please). Guessing how many trailers will run across the screen before the featured film plays.
It will likely be at least a few more months before that happens again. I miss the regularity of these sorts of mini-escapes at the movies away from life’s painful breaking news.
I’ve also longed for the return of major league baseball. Now, only a week into the abbreviated season, at least six members (three players and three staff members) of my favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The league postponed the Cardinals/Brewers games in Milwaukee on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. After an outbreak on the Miami Marlins squad a week ago, the 2020 season appears to be in jeopardy.
In the life-and-death scheme of things, I realize movies and baseball games pale when compared with 155,000-plus deaths in the United States and historic job losses.
But we need entertaining escapes to keep us all sane. Otherwise, I fear we’ll end up like the mannequins in the store window. Stiff. Still. Staring blankly into an empty space.