Sunday, July 11, 2010

What I'd like to tell the guy texting next to me

Give me a dark room, a bag of popcorn and the lovely Miss Wendy at my side, and I’m in movie heaven. It helps if the film has an actual story and not just a bunch of computer-generated explosions. But truth be told, I’ll watch just about anything.

There’s something relaxing and refreshing, especially this time of year in the Land of Cotton, to settle back in an air-conditioned theater and enjoy the flickering flash of make believe come to life. Two hours of such therapy and I’m more than ready to face the realities that fill our daily lives – sinking economy, wars in distant lands, an oily slick that refuses to be controlled … well, you get the idea.

So I find it irksome when my pleasant little get-away is invaded by the mindless blather of egocentric morons who can’t shut off their phones, BlackBerries and other such toys. Why the heck do these people pay good money for a movie when every few minutes they feel compelled to whip out their shortcomings?

I can forgive the immature antics of youngsters, not old enough to understand or care about the people sitting around them and how distracting it is for the light of a cell phone to flash on in a darkened theater. But when the jerk with the phone has lost most of his hair and has a paunch that he’s obviously been working on for decades, then I’m hard pressed to figure out what’s happening.

Have some people – men and women; this isn’t a gender issue – simply lost the capacity to relax or become so filled with self importance that they can’t imagine unplugging themselves from the outer world for an hour or two? And what, if anything, do they think about the people sitting around them, the people they are annoying with their childish behavior?

Over the weekend, Miss Wendy and I went to see Date Night, the laugh-out-loud comedy starring the sexy and funny Tina Fey and the, well, sexy and funny Steve Carell. Minutes before the film began, I counted at least a dozen folks chatting or texting away on their phones, ignoring their wives, dates and friends, busy yakking away about absolutely nothing with people who, if they were in the theater, these same people would be ignoring. What’s that about?

A few years ago, before this rude behavior had become epidemic, a guy was finishing up some sort of business on his cell phone as the trailers began to roll. Apparently unable to make himself understood, he shouted into his phone, “How much do you want?” Someone sitting behind me, apparently even more annoyed by the boorish behavior then I was, yelled out, “Pay her $100 … now shut down your frickin’ phone.”

I can’t imagine what this guy would have been shouting in the theater yesterday when, moments into the film, little digital lights began blinking across the room, a twinkling reminder that the magic of our high-tech age comes with a price.

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