Right now-- at this very moment-- people are sitting in cinemas all over Ireland, all over America, all over the world. They are sitting on the plush red seats, drinking in the scent of popcorn and hotdogs, and (for the most part) utterly losing themselves in the enormous images on the enormous screen.
Personally, I don't think like to think of the packed screenings so much. I like to think of the half-empty or three-quarters empty screenings. In fact, I like to think of those parts of the world where it's early afternoon, as I write this, and people are attending matinee screenings where the cinema itself seems like a little suspended reality of its own, as everybody else shops and drives and works outside. I like to think of matinee screenings in cinemas called the Lux and the Adelphi and the Majestic and other deliciously bombastic names. Thirty years from now, in many cases, they'll still remember the film they're watching now, where they saw it, who they were with.
Right now, at this very moment, people are sitting in pubs all over Ireland, all over the UK. They're sitting in bars in America. They are sitting on the cushioned seats, in the welcoming low light, the golden glow thrown from globe lamps and other fancy subdued lights. Everything around them says: "Welcome! Be comfortable! Take it easy! Don't worry, for now!". They might be talking about the Spanish Civil War, or the Narnia books, or fishing. The conversation seems richer, fuller, because of the tang of alcohol or the low fire in the fireplace or the mellowness of the pub's decorations.
All around Ireland, right now, there are hundreds of miles of country roads, leading from one small town to another small town-- many of them places that were never very famous for anything. Down some of them, a car passes every few moments. Down one of them, perhaps, a boy is walking, dreaming, looking at the horizon. Some of them-- and these are the ones I like to think about the most-- are completely deserted.
All around the world, right now, there are people lying in warm baths, steaming rising from the water, the door locked, cocooned from the world outside for a precious little while.
I like to meditate on all this. It enriches me, even though it makes not the slightest material difference to my life. It adds to the excitement of that most exciting word, one of the most exciting words in the language-- "world". Because a world can be the world of a warm bath, or the world of a boy's consciousness as he walks along a deserted country road, or the object of discussion between two friends sitting in the White Swan or the Castle Tavern or the Admiral of the Humber.