I’ll keep this short, because I haven’t lived in Asheville that long. I moved here in December 2012, and I spent the first month driving back and forth from my job at the far end of Hendersonville Road, and doing whatever my friends wanted to do. If I knew where something was, it was because I’d followed someone there. On my first day in the area, I’d gotten desperately lost trying to find a coffee shop in Arden while using the Garmin navigation system that hadn’t been updated since 2004. For a few weeks it left an imprint on me: Asheville was a hazardous, unforgiving labyrinth, and I was better off just sitting in the room I was subletting, and watching Fatal Attractions, a show about people that get eaten by their lizards.
The Beaucatcher Cinemas was the first place that I went by myself. The editor of the website that I wrote for at the time asked me to write a review of Texas Chainsaw 3D. I eagerly accepted before remembering that this would actually require me to go see the movie. How? Would the next edition of the Citizen Times read “Local Nerd Starves To Death Trying To Navigate Intersection”? I didn’t know where the closest theater was, but I did know where I40 was, so if I didn’t find the place I was looking for this time, I figured that I could just drive back home to Winston. There, I could act like I was put into witness protection until I lived down the shame.
“Weren’t you that guy that asked me for directions in the Asheville Mall, man?”
“No, um. We’ve never met. You must be thinking of someone else. Thank you for coming to Best Buy. Have a great day.”
I chose the Beaucatcher, because the Google Maps directions that I printed off showed me that I’d have less turns to take if I went there, than if I went to any other theater. And, against all odds, I made it there safely. It was 1 PM on a Tuesday, and the place was empty. And it felt like I was going into someone’s elaborate basement, rather than an actual movie theater. And I dug that.
The movie’s grown on me lately in a curious way. At one point, Leatherface’s cousin passes Leatherface his chainsaw and says “Do your thing, cuz,” and I swear to god, time stopped. Entertainment, as a concept, had reached its omega. I can’t tell you whether or not the movie was good or bad, but I can tell you that the Bronze, Silver and Golden Ages of Hollywood are done. We now live in the Post Do Your Thing, Cuz Era of Hollywood, and there is no going back.
But more importantly, nestled in an empty room, watching a horror movie and eating lukewarm popcorn, dammit, I felt at home for the first time since arriving in Asheville. And so, after a month, I was finally able to relax.
Often, when you move to a new city, it feels like the city is dining on you. Nothing goes right, and the roads and buildings and people seem to dissect you on their plates. And all you can do is wonder what style of shoe you have to wear or what type of beer you have to drink so that you can feel like a whole person walking in a city that embraces you, instead of the wandering, vulnerable idea of a person. So take it easy, Beaucatcher. I won’t lie and say that I visited you every weekend, or that you were the theater that I recommended to all of my friends. But you did make me feel less like a fool. And I appreciate that.