Guilt in 3-D

I worked a lot in the month of November. I'm not quite sure why I did this other than the fact that sometimes I get into a rhythm where I feel lazy and unhappy with myself if I'm not working 50 or more hours in a week. Eventually I was able to break the cycle, but judging from my past experiences the urge to work until my hair falls out will probably strike again in a couple months.

While I love to work, and making a little overtime is always nice for my budget, the natural consequence of working every waking moment is that I didn't see a lot of my child last month. Silas didn't ever complain. He's always thrilled to spend extra time with his grandparents, but I ended up feeling like I had been run over by the semi truck of guilt.

This month, after finally working my way out of a destructive pattern of work addiction, I realized that it's cold. Very cold. And for some reason, I don't own a coat. So, a combination of wanting to spend time with my 7-year-old and having our options of activities limited by the fact that I was spending every moment spent outside shivering and complaining made me decide to go see a movie.

I very rarely watch movies. I don't own a DVD or VCR (does anyone own a VCR anymore?), and I go to the movie theater two or three times a year. Up to this moment of overwhelming parental guilt I had seen two movies this year, "Puss in Boots" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." I'm a big TV watcher. I love TV. I love every trashy television program ever invented, and I sincerely believe that nothing cures a cold faster than a good old "Golden Girls" marathon while lying on the couch.

My love of television has never crossed over to being a love of movies, though. Silas watches movies when he's at his grandparents' house. This is probably one of the many reasons why he doesn't mind me working so much — he finally gets a chance to watch "Star Wars" and "Mr. Bean" for the 10,000th time when he's there.

Attending movies so rarely meant that I had never seen a 3-D movie. I also had the mistaken belief that only the Medford movie theaters showed movies in 3-D. I'm not sure why I believed that, or why I believed it so strongly that I informed all my family members and friends of that fact, but I was wrong.

So last week, driven by guilt and the cold weather, Silas and I watched our first 3-D movie. It was fun watching Silas reach his hands out to "touch" the things he saw coming out of the screen, and wearing the really awesome 3-D glasses only made me feel like a total dorkus for the first two halves of the movie. The only problem was we chose possibly the worst movie ever made to be our first 3-D movie experience. What could possibly be wrong with a movie about flightless birds with joyous extremities? A lot. In fact, parts of the movie (mostly the singing parts) made me so uncomfortable I was actually cringing in embarrassment in my seat, embarrassed on behalf of the poor singing birds and praying that an orca would make a sudden, murderous appearance in the film and end it for everyone.

Guilt may drive everyone to make a couple bad decisions here and there, but I think I learned my lesson. I learned not to work quite so much, to read a couple movie reviews before buying expensive cinema tickets, and to buy myself a coat with a little of that overtime money I earned.

Zoe Abel is tracking her coat purchase online and sending a little money to the save the whales campaign. Maybe an orca didn't rescue her from her movie experience due to being busy avoiding whalers. You can contact her at

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