Rude Behavior and a Theater Pre-Show

Image_square_webby Susan
I’d like to share my pre-movie theater experience when I recently went to see In Time.

Remember, I go to the movies quite often. A LOT, you might say. I try to get to the theater in plenty of time to get a good seat, which for me means something in the middle and more than halfway up when stadium seating is available. Fortunately, my husband knows this and when he is with me we almost never have to talk about where to sit; he heads for the right place automatically.

We arrived at the theater for In Time just in time (that wording is on purpose, thank you very much!) to get very good seats that were in the middle and more than halfway up. Most of the people who had arrived before us had the same idea, but we found a completely empty row that met all requirements. As we spotted our seats of choice, I noticed the couple sitting behind our target row. What drew my attention was that the “lady” (it doesn’t cost me anything to be generous) had her booted foot propped up on the back of the seat in front of her. I thought to myself, “She’s middle-aged and should have better manners, but she’ll have to move that foot anyway because I bet my husband is going directly to that seat where her foot now rests.” I was right.

I followed my husband down the row and as he was settling into his seat, I was still standing, facing him and I could see the couple on the row behind ours. Just as I was about to give a nod and slight smile of acknowledgement to them before I sat down, the “lady” said,”I can’t believe they are going to sit right there!” This outburst from her was accompanied by a look of such disgust I felt compelled to respond. My “slight smile” became a full-fledged, ear-to-ear grin as I tilted my head, looked her in the eye, and without missing a beat said with mock sympathy: “Awwwww, that’s just terrible! Now you can’t put your foot up on the seat in front of you!” I didn’t whisper it, either.

I never would have drawn attention to her lack of manners had she not voiced her irritation out loud. Who, other than ignorant children and self-involved teens in need of etiquette lessons, puts their foot up on the back of the seat in front of them? Well, she couldn’t just let it go. I was already well on my way to forgetting our little exchange when, 10 seconds later, I heard from behind us, “There are a MILLION empty seats in here! Why do they have to sit in front of US?! ”

Obviously, there were not nearly a million empty seats, but it was a matinee on a bad weather day and a lot of seats were empty – except for the section right up the middle with the best overall viewing position. And it was stadium seating – sitting behind a tall person is a moot point because each row is elevated above the row in front of it. I have to believe that she was annoyed because she couldn’t prop up her foot. Like a spoiled brat.

I heard a bit of rustling and the “lady” may have said something else I didn’t hear as I was settling in with my overpriced soda and snack. Quite suddenly I was aware of the couple behind us standing up and making their way down to the end of the row. The “lady’s” male companion leaned down and whispered to my husband, “Don’t mind her. She’s having a bad day.”

They resettled themselves in two seats at the end of their row. I didn’t hear anything else out of them. After the movie, I had to explain to my husband what went down and why the guy told him she was having a bad day; he hadn’t heard any of what she said because he was consuming mass quantities of buttered popcorn.

Moral of this story: It pays to get to the theater early. You might get to experience an entire show before the main feature.