A couple of weeks ago, I and three amigos headed off to see Wicked, the musical. Which is fabulous, and I definitely recommend it. But that is not the point of this post.
Sitting before the four of us were five friends. Five head bopping, head turning, CELL PHONE USING, talking twenty-somethings.
Our post-show discussion covered many of the fabulous moments of the show (“the ‘guh’ is silent”, “not everyone can travel by bubble”, songs that were catchy as hell) and an analysis of the lack of manners in kids today. It is funny to note that our ages range from early thirties to early forties. So we’re not that old. lol I had the same experience in New York, at the plays I went to, people texting and using their cell phones, people talking constantly.
What happened to respecting the community of fellow theater goers? What happened to respecting the ART of the show? Why the hell would you spend over a hundred dollars for a ticket and then watch your cell, not the show?
Time passes and last night I and two amigos went to see X-men: First Class. Sitting beside me was a group of three or more friends (yes, twenty-somethings). Not that long into the movie (which was really good, btw), the chick beside me pulls out her cell phone.
I really hate cell phones in theaters. I don’t care if you think you’re hiding the light from your screen. You’re not. I tell you now, I and many others can see it and it’s distracting and therefore offensive.
Without thinking I turn to her and state flatly, “no”.
She looks at me, startled, and covers the screen with her hand, not saying a word.
“I can still see it.” My voice is quiet but I like to think there was a plank of steel in it.
She makes some odd jerky movement, turns it off, puts it in her purse, zippers that closed and puts it down.
During the movie she and her friends talked at regular 5-10 minute intervals, the third girl, farthest from me, was on her cell for so long I’m really surprised she bothered to spend the ten bucks for the movie. What was the point? She wasn’t watching it. The talking continued, so did the texting or game playing. At one point the girl beside me pulled out wet wipes and started giving herself an upper body bath (those things reek of citrus chemical smells). She fidgeted; she was in and out of her purse constantly. Towards the end she pulled out her cell phone again but she leaned far forward and covered it with her hair and body. Since I really couldn’t see the light from it, I didn’t say anything.
Until the movie was over.
The lights came up and I turned to my neighbours and tell them very calmly that they needed to work on their movie etiquette. That I’d been able to hear them talking throughout the movie, quite clearly. That I could see their friend’s cell phone being used. That it was all very distracting.
I was not rude. I did not yell. I commented on their actions, not them as people.
I felt like a parent.
They listened, they nodded and they apologized.
I nodded and turned back to my friends. My point was made. There was no need to belabour it, to harp on them, or to work at making them feel bad (or wore, as the case may be).
What about you? Do you feel like it is time for a manners revolution? Is it time to speak up when people behave badly? Instead of sitting there and trying to ignore the self-centered, immature, I-hope-to-gods-that-they-just-never-learned-better behaviours, why don’t we confront them, gently, with all of the communication grace of our maturity and work at teaching people what they’ve either never learned or have forgotten?
It’s not about fixing that moment in time. It’s already been tarnished. But by speaking up, by calling people on their actions, by being the consequence that bites them on the ass, maybe the next time they’ll behave better. Maybe the next person sitting beside these girls at a movie theatre won’t even notice that they are there.
Maybe together we can help young souls come to a greater understanding of the consequences of their choices.
Are you with me?