I’m so intrigued by this Florida movie theatre shooting incident. The one where the ex-cop, Curtis Reeves, shot the guy texting. On one hand, what an over-reaction. On the other, is there anything more fucking annoying than someone on a cell phone during a movie? No one in the world is that important they can’t stay off their phones (or walk out of the theatre to take a call). Since when does anyone get a life-altering text? And I realize it was just the previews. But the lights were down. Just shut off your phones, people. Shut them off at the movies. Shut them off at church. Shut them off when you’re actively playing with your children. And shut them off when you’re out to dinner with someone. Spend time in the moment. Stop putting the person on the other end of the phone before everyone who’s present with you. Even if it is your three year old daughter… Wait. Seriously. He wasn’t texting his child.
OK, so the real deal here is I think this guy is crazy. But I know how people get pushed to crazy with inconsideration. For example, I hate standing in lines. People are rude and selfish. They don’t want to stand in lines either. But rather than just doing it, they find a way to cut. This infuriates me. No one wants to wait, but you’re not any more important than me. If someone kicked someone’s ass for cutting in line, I could totally relate. If I were tough, I might do it, too. Instead, I’m passive aggressive.
The only people who say texting during a movie isn’t distracting is the texter. A few years ago I went to a movie with a group of girls. I got talked into that terrible move, Magic Mike. I didn’t want to go, and didn’t give two shits about the movie. Yet, when my friend kept checking her phone during the movie, I wanted to punch her. First, because it was distracting me from the terrible movie. Every time she’d turn her phone on, I’d be distracted. What if I missed one of Matthew McConughdhsychay’s ab muscles? OK, seriously, I did not care about this movie, but it was still annoying. But worse than that, every time she’d pull it out EVERYONE around us (it was a packed theatre, seriously, why do women love this stuff?) would get annoyed. She did it several times. One person behind us asked her to put it away. Kindly. Just tapped her on the shoulder. She pulled it down into her lap more. In a dark theatre, the glowing light of a cell phone is still a distraction.
About 20 minutes later a movie theater employee came in and said she needed to put it away or she’d be asked to leave. She said, “OK.” Acted annoyed, and put it away. For about fifteen minutes. It was like a compulsion. Her sister kept reaching over, putting her hand over the screen and saying, “Put it away. I don’t want to get kicked out.” She’d act put out. And put it away for a second. Then take it out again.
This woman is no one. Not in a “you’re not important” sense, but in a self-promoted important way. She can step away from her job for a few hours. Or a few weeks for that matter! Her family is perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. And Facebook wasn’t going to shut down. So why couldn’t she stop? Even when her friends and sister told her to stop. When someone behind her asked her to stop. Even when threatened with ejection.
I found out later she was lucky to get a warning. That theatre has a zero-tolerance policy.
This is the same woman who told me her screaming child is “cute.” In the Midwest, customers are always right. She got kicked out of a Mexican restaurant for her relentlessly screaming child. That’s how disconnected she is from courtesy. She is also consistently late to meetings and is a terrible parker. But she’s a very nice person. Honestly. She’s a good friend and a dedicated mom. She cares about her family and has rescued her nephew from essentially being put out on the street. But she’s somehow devolved into this self-important person in public. It’s embarrassing.
If someone approaches her and asks her to stop, she thinks THEY are wrong. She was appalled a theatre employee had time to come in to tell her to put her phone away. And declared she’d never re-visit that Mexican restaurant. She would never violently approach someone with big words or aggression like Oulson appears to have done, so it’s unlikely she’ll ever get shot. But she’s so unaware of how she acts and how she comes across. And doesn’t think anything she’s done is wrong. And is appalled anyone could tell her what to do.
Now, she doesn’t deserve to be shot. Neither did Oulson. But with this inconsideration running rampant in society, and so many people thinking they are the only person at the center of the universe, it’s bound to happen. Is it right? No. But any grown person should know better than to aggressively approach someone. Or throw popcorn. Or to be texting at all in the first place. Once the lights go down, cell phones should be turned off. I don’t want to leave the theatre ten minutes into the movie to report you. Just turn them off when it’s dark. Easy enough!
If we’d all take a little more time to think about anyone other than ourselves. Or calmly say, “Hey, just texting my daughter’s daycare before the movie starts, I’ll put it away now/after the previews/I won’t use it during the movie” it would all probably be fine. Just like taking your screaming toddler out of the highchair to coddle him, or take him outside, or get your order to go would stop you from getting ejected from a restaurant. And a lot more people would be a lot less angry for being disrespected or slighted or for wasting their money paying for something that you’ve ruined.
Again, no one deserves to be shot. But we all deserve to be treated with more respect than we are. All the way around. In all facets of life.