Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Excusable? Or just plain embarrassing?

I think I’ve turned into an 89 year-old woman.

Last week I told some kids to stop talking in a movie.

Well, not so much ‘told’, but asked them. “Do you guys want to shut up?! Seriously!”

As the LovelyWife notes, there’s a certain passive aggressive quality to my attempts to force my own personal standards of everyday common decency on complete strangers.

We used to live across the road from a child-care centre which, as you’d expect, was adequately fenced. After about 3 months of silent, repressed rage, I could no longer tolerate the daily, after-hours visits by some neighbourhood kids with their two large dogs.

These dogs, instead of being responsibly exercised in a public park, would be allowed to run and bark and crap freely in the child-care centre’s fenced-off play area. For hours. Their owners using the enclosed nature of the play area as a substitute for active supervision and interaction with their dogs.

A more confident person would have confronted these rather meek looking 13 year-olds and their ageing labradors with something like “you shouldn’t be doing that. There’s a park around the corner.” (Or, perhaps, said nothing at all. I’ve lost track of what is acceptable these days).

My attempt was something more like “excuse me, I want you to think about what happens when your dogs use the kids’ play area as a toilet, and then the kids come and play in the play area, and their hands touch the dogs' poo.”

Brilliant, n'est pas?

Anyway, I still maintain that in both the dog incident and the movie scenario, my emergency interventions were justified.

The movie in question was the unnecessarily complex Quantum of Solace – I’d invested several hours and the not inconsiderable ticket price for the privilege of being utterly confused by:
a) the first 45 minutes of storyline;
b) the whole Mathis denouement (even Wiki doesn’t know if his duplicity was a set-up, or if he was a triple-agent); and
c) Alicia Keys’ upper register

However, it seemed to me that for these kids’ parents, the cinema was serving the same purpose as the child-care centre’s fenced-off play-area was serving for the dog-owners – a convenient, enclosed space in which to park their responsibilities whilst they engaged in some other activity.

There was no way these 10 year-old boys were going to be interested in the full 17 hours of the movie and it was hence unsurprising that they resorted to what can only be described as ‘hi-jinks’ up and down the aisles.

My ever-so-slightly assertive request that they be quiet was triggered when they chose the aisle right in front of us to discuss whatever it is kids discuss in cinemas when they are bored by movies pitched way higher than their age group.

It was seriously impeding my ability to keep up with the secret-organisation-holds-stealthy-conference-regarding-purchase-of-pipeline-during-Tosca scene.

I’m most worried, however, by the fact that last night I ‘shh’-ed some women sitting next to me at the Kylie concert.

I knew they were trouble when they came up the aisle already carrying their shoes. Isn’t that something reserved for 5.30pm on Melbourne Cup day?

Or is it now acceptable to walk out your front door with bare feet and shoes in your hands?

(There’s a whole other post there about choosing footwear that’s so useless you end up carrying it, compromising the utility of your hands and feet).

But perhaps I shouldn’t say that I ‘shh’-ed them – I don’t think I was that assertive.

It was more a case of me explaining to them that their incredibly loud, long conversation regarding how they were going to emotionally blackmail their boyfriends into proposing (well, that’s what I imagine the conversation to be about), was getting “a bit distracting for all the people sitting around you.”

But srsly! Who pays $100 to go to a Kylie concert, and then sits there talking through the whole first half?! I just don’t understand. It wasn’t even a case of the occasional comment here or there, in between songs or even in the instrumental interludes between scenes.

These women were shouting their conversation just to hear themselves over the performance. And I needed all my concentration to understand Kylie’s revolutionary cross-cultural interpretation of Barry Manilow classics.

I feel dismayed.

But I'm not sure whether that's because it feels like no one gives a rats about how their behaviour impacts on others, or if it's because I'm a 'shh'-er.

*insert ennui here*


M-H said...

Those shoes are known as 'carterbah' shoes. Car to bar, because that's as far as they go.

Mindy said...

I think you were very restrained actually. Well done.

Ampersand Duck said...

Ditto! let it rip.

And I think you were acting like a 65-y-o. If you were 89 you wouldn't be leaving the house (and therefore might be moderately happier)...

TimT said...

As long as you haven't started leaving other people unsubtly worded anonymous notes around the office, then I guess it's okay...