The other night Bob wanted to go see the movie “Heaven Is Real.” Being the movie buff that I am, I gladly agreed and off to the movies we went.
A movie theater in a town the size of Maquoketa is quite a luxury. Although we usually go to movies on Tuesday night when the movies are matinee priced or Wednesday night when the popcorn is free, we decided to splurge and go on a Friday night.
That was our first mistake.
Because of a limited number of things for people to do in town on date nights, going to the movies is an extremely popular choice. When I saw the line wind around the corner, I suggested we come back another time. Crowds are not my scene and I thought this movie in particular might be better viewed in a more intimate environment.
Bob assured me the crowds were for Spiderman 2 and we’d be fine. Not wanting to be a party pooper, I conceded.
One thing I’ve learned over the years besides “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” is this. If something makes you crazy and you know it, trust your gut.
As I suspected, there were as many people in our movie as there were in Spiderman 2. I selected the first available row with two seats together. Bob shuffled off to get popcorn as I previewed coming attractions.
When people sit in close proximity, you can learn a lot about them very quickly. Sometimes it’s subtle like their personal hygiene preferences or obvious like their take on parenting or the adverse effects of too many concessions.
During our movie the point of contention was a rogue cell phone. Alarmingly the phone in question was suspiciously close to me. Although I’m not one to get or receive many calls, mainly because I never know the exact location of my phone, I feared perhaps this was the precise moment had left it on in my purse.
After a moment of panic, I assured myself my phone was on vibrate and later discovered it wasn’t even at the movie with me. That did not stop the woman in front of me from turning around and glaring at me, clearly assuming this would shame the offending phone into silence. I had no choice but to confess to the back of her head, “It’s not my phone.”
A few moments later the person behind me got up and left the room to have a conversation with the insistent caller. She later returned to fill anyone within earshot of the who, what, when, where, why and how of the call.
Despite the uplifting message of the movie, I left in a funk. I’ve come to accept I will be blamed for things I have nothing more to do with than being at the right place at the wrong time. It’s part of my job as little big cheese.
But movie theater etiquette or any number of civility or entitlement issues have me perplexed. This is why it’s best for me not to encounter large crowds at the end of a work week.
“Forgive them for they know not what they do,” is a really hard sentiment to practice.
This is why losing my religion has more to do with the congregation than the message. If the point is to love one another, why do we insist on blaming, shaming, judging and disrespecting each other?
I will never lose my sense of wonder and awe for all that is mysterious and divine. My life is nothing if not one continuous quest for truth, beauty, love, and a cute pair of comfortable shoes.
It’s just walking in someone else’s shoes takes a great deal of compassion, tolerance, and grace. Fortunately, I have a closet full of practice shoes.