Shhh! Have Some Common Courtesy Please

I went to see a movie the other day.  I like to sit in the far back row so that nobody can kick my chair or talk behind me.

My friend, of course, likes to sit much, much further down.

So, we get there early and sit way down near the front of the stadium seats and, of course, right before the movie begins, a tall man sits behind me.  Then, after the movie has been on for a few minutes, the obligatory late group shows up, talking loudly with each other and saying they can’t see a thing.  They come behind our row (where the last few seats are), banging chairs and yelling “excuse me!” as the rest of us, who got there a few minutes early, are watching.

As the movie continues, the man behind me starts shifting, kicking my chair repeatedly…much more than necessary for a few uncomfortable re-positions.  Then, at a critical time in the movie, one of the late arrivals decides she’s going to be that person, and as the protagonist is about to expose a great secret, she decides to provide, quite loudly, her hypothesis on who the mystery person under the hood really is…ruining it for the rest of us.

We all knew, of course, but she stole the thrill and the thunder.

This, of course, was all going on alongside the usual texting and cell phone activity that always happens during a movie nowadays.

When did we forget how to be in a public setting?  When did rudeness become the norm?  I know this same question has been asked 100s of times and we constantly lament the loss of civility, but how did it happen?  When did we forget there are other theater-goers…or, for that matter, other drivers, other diners, other students in the class, other patients in the ER waiting area, other clients…other anything.

I’m not a saint by any means.  And neither are you.  But maybe we can count ourselves among those who hold our tongue in the theater or take the call outside.  And if you’re not that person who understands these basic laws, don’t get angry when someone asks you to observe simple rules.

I know there are myriad ways to justify rudeness, boorishness, and self-righteousness.    I know that if someone asks a person to please talk quieter on their phone or blow their cigarette smoke another direction, the first reaction is always defensiveness and shock at being asked to consider someone else’s feelings.

But maybe, before you act, your first reaction should be to consider those around you.  After all, I paid my $7, and I want to be surprised when the bad guy is revealed.

Even if I already know who he is underneath…

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