TCMFF Inspires Camaraderie
Outside of the fact that I had to try three versions of the word before I found one my spell check would swallow without protest, camaraderie is just about the perfect word to describe the automatic relationship that develops between people similarly hung with the identifying pass for the TCM Film Festival. The festival has been over some weeks now but I have had the pleasure of hearing from several of the people who I met waiting in line or already seated waiting for the film to start. It is amazing the sense of community that is automatically established because we, the festival attending audience, can recognize each other, half the social dance gone through when contacting strangers is eliminated. We spot the pass hung like an over-sized ski lift ticket around the neck of someone we have never spoken too, most likely never even seen before, and know instantly that we are of the same tribe. We are classic movie lovers.
I think I am going through withdrawal. I doubt wearing the pass to the grocery store would produce the same immediate camaraderie (there is that word again) that was achieved not just in line at the theater, but on street corners waiting for the crossing signal, where spotting a pass bearing being one asked at once: “What did you see?” It was not necessary to introduce yourself, establish like interests, or create trust. You could cut right to the rather personal questions: “What movie are you going to see next?” “Is this your first time here?” “Where do you live?” Imagine your response to being questioned closely about you intentions by some absolute stranger while waiting for a streetlight to change? The situation would normally be uncomfortable to down right scary. But the pass identifies one of your own, a family member so to speak, and the questions are accepted, responded to and more asked in return: “Are you going to the late night showing?” “Have you been to the Ladies Room at Grauman’s Chinese, it’s a must see?”
I even picked up some new friends in a bar, well a sort of a bar and it was the middle of the afternoon. I was grabbing a quick bite to eat and, yes, a drink. Two ladies, members of my tribe because they too were wearing the pass, sat down at a nearby table. I felt welcome to open a conversation; indeed it would have seemed rude not to have. If you ran into cousin Martha at the local pub wouldn’t you say hello, how are you, inquire about things in general? We sipped our drinks, munched on our snacks and chatted for about forty-five minutes about life. Where did we live, why were we attending the festival, what did we do when we weren’t enjoying a life of morning to night movie going? I know which one of them is the die-hard classic movie lover and which the good friend, happily along for the ride. By the time we rose to go get back in line we were friends who will greet each other with considerable welcome when we run into each other in line (or in the bar) next year.
Come to think of it, I seldom get to chat with the people in line at the grocery, the hardware store, or the plant nursery. But then they aren’t tagged and identified TCM classic movie fans.