When I first moved to New York and didn’t have a job I used to go to Village East by myself a lot in the mornings, because I was broke and all the showings before noon were $6, and also I guess on some level because I was lonely and wanted to get out of my apartment and put myself in situations where I might have brief but meaningful conversations with strangers. I would always sit in the balcony. Most of the people who go to showings before noon at Village East—or any movie theater, really—are either very weird or very, very old, and there are generally few enough of us weirdos/olds that we give each other lots of space: entire rows to lord over and unspoken permission to put your feet up on the seat. Only this one time, when I went to see The Master in dazzling 70mm, an assertively perfumed woman in a pillbox hat who had to have been 90 years old sat down in the seat right next to me; I guess as you get older you discard the shame involved in admitting that you are doing something because you’re lonely. She didn’t say a word to me before or during the movie, and during certain scenes—when Joaquin Phoenix fucks a woman made out of sand and then jerks off into the ocean; when all the women in the movie are suddenly naked for no apparent reason; The Angry Handjob Scene—I stiffened in my seat, wondering what this elegant, pillbox-hatted lady was thinking. Did she know what she was getting into here? Was she offended? Would she walk out? She didn’t, though, and when the credits began to roll she turned to me looking very satisfied and declared in the most fabulous Old New York accent, “Philip Seymour Hoffman is a marvelous actor.” Then she stood up without another word and walked away.