I’m about done with going to the movies. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I had a pleasant theater experience. There’s always that lady that brings her nearly deaf friend and yells spoilers during the entire movie despite me angrily turning around and demanding, “PLEASE BE QUIET YOU’RE TALKING REALLY LOUD,” and the guy that tries to put his feet on my armrest or right next to my head, and the whisper-screamers (people that think they’re whispering yet somehow the ENTIRE THEATER can hear them), and the parents that let their kid wear shoes that flash every time he violently kicks the back of my chair. People! Why can’t you all just BE NORMAL? How hard is it to sit quietly for two hours without being a total stain??
But worst of all are the movie-texters.
Heads up. If you are in a movie theater with me and the previews have ended and the movie has begun and you pull your cell phone out more than once to check your texts, I WILL say something, because you are an obnoxious, inconsiderate, selfish human being. And no, there is no discreet way to turn your screen on. I promise you that the people around you will see the glow, even if you try to sneak a peek while it’s in your purse. And to those of you who throw discretion out the window and brazenly hold your phone at eye level during the movie...there are just not enough bad things to say about you :)
Don’t worry, though – I always ask politely at first, even though I secretly want to choke the life out of you. The first time I ever nicely asked a stranger through gritted teeth to please turn his phone off, I fully expected to be met with belligerence. Instead, the guy quickly stashed his phone and was overly apologetic, as though he had no idea that the glow of his phone in a dark theater was like the light of a thousand suns.
But sometimes people require a heavier hand. I saw The Dark Knight Rises while in Idaho, and my poor mom got landed sitting next to a serial phone checker. Partway through the movie she finally told him to put his phone away (please), and he did, but then NOT TWO MINUTES LATER he pulled it out again!!!!!1 I leaned across both her and Annie and yelled, “Dude! Put your phone away!!” That, combined with my angry face (it’s quite scary) did the trick. He waved his arms in mock surrender and complied. I was aghast. You shouldn’t even have to be told once!! And did we not both just pay three hundred dollars to see this movie?? I really don't get it.
This weekend, Jon and I saw three movies in theaters. In one, we got up and moved because the sickly 11-year-old kid behind us was vociferously sniffling every 3-6 seconds, ignoring his mom's offers of Kleenex. In the two others, we told people to put their phones away in what turned out to be a couple of my favorite incidents to date.
In the first, I gave the idiot lady next to me a twenty minute grace period into Hunger Games before I finally told her, “Turn your phone off, please.” She looked up, alarmed, confused. I repeated myself. And then.
You’re going to die.
“It’s on vibrate.”
The last answer on earth I was expecting. No belligerence, no, “screw you, I don’t care,” not even a sheepish look - this was a woman who had never grasped the concept that a bright phone in a dark room is distracting. My response was something along the lines of, “NO, it’s the BRIGHT LIGHT that’s a problem. Your phone is BRIGHT. My eyes…the light…the light…my eyes [sunburst hand motion demonstrating the burning effect of her phone on my eyeballs].” She stashed it.
And the last one. It fills me with glee. During Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the woman in front of us pulled her phone out every five minutes and held it directly in front of her face. She either ignored me or didn’t hear me when I told her to put it away. Twenty minutes later, Jon piped up and said, in a much nicer tone than I had, “Put your phone away, please.” She froze, slowly lowered her phone into her purse, sat still for a minute, then left the theater and never came back.
I think that means we won.