Saturday, December 28, 2013

Modern Methods of Healing Affluenza

We went to the movies last night. It was a really nice theater with cozy seats.

What is it with people? I mean, really!

There was a family who arrived early and procured the best seats in the house, middle seats in a middle row. Fine. I have no problem with that. First come, first served. Besides, I like having an aisle seat in case I need to get up.

The movie was barely begun when a dad, I presume, and a kindergartner crossed in front of us to get out of the theater. Fine, I get it. There were spiders and they were too scary for a kindergartner.  Who decided that this was a movie that was appropriate for a kindergartner? Think about it. Orcs, spiders, wolves, and wild bears. Some interesting judgement there. As they passed, I missed being able to read some of the orc translation on the screen. Shoot!

Can you tell that we'd gone to see 'The Hobbit' and were quite interested in the story, really interested? Our friend Jack said that he didn't like the movie because it didn't follow the book closely. The joy of it for me was that it has been so long since I read the book that I can mentally disengage the two mediums and let the movie flow out in its own way. I want to tell Jack that a movie never follows the book except when the author has too much control over the screenplay and those are usually awful movies because the average author has no idea how to properly stage a movie.

A couple of years ago, in an attempt to read something he actually liked, Mike read 'The Hobbit' to Nick. They both loved the experience and it definitely brought Nick into the loop with Mike's 'Lord of the Rings' fandom. Mike is one of those people who will always, always watch a 'Lord of the Rings' movie when he finds it on TV, commercials and all, even though he has a boxed set on the shelf. Sometimes, when he's home with a cold, he'll watch all of them, one after another. So, we really wanted to see this movie, all of it.

The second time the child left the theater and came back, I was more annoyed. There were empty seats in front of me on the aisle. If they sat there and got up frequently, they might block me momentarily, but Mike and Nick would be okay. Plus, there wouldn't be anyone trampling my feet and pushing my knees out of the way as if I were the one causing the problem.

Then, the same man came through with a boy who was only slightly older than the girl, a second-grader, maybe? Really? In the process, the man actually paused to look at the movies screen as he was in front of Nick and I. Can you believe that?

Then, in between the migration of the children every twenty minutes or so, I noticed that the guy behind me was pushing my seat with his foot. The seats were wide, comfortable, and with an ability to rock a little. When the guy pushed my seat with his foot, it moved my seat as far forward as it could go as if it were dumping me out so I'd get up. After a while, I got into the habit of roughly pushing my seat back abruptly. The guy stopped for a bit, then began again. I ended up spending an inordinate amount of brain-processing time figuring out how long to wait between rocking back in my seat in a way that might jar an ankle enough to keep this man from dumping me out of my seat every few minutes.

And the kids continued to parade back and forth, trailed by this arrogant father who never once apologized, across our knees and feet to get to the bathroom, to get away from scary images, to get their jitters out. Six or seven times, they looped around. I actually lost track.

When the movie was over, I made a point of making a comment about the rude people walking in front of us. See, by then, I recognized both the little girl's pants and the dad's pants so that I could properly time my comment.

"Can you believe how rude those people were who kept walking back and forth in front of us? There were aisles seats available and they never once, not even after going in front of us multiple times, considered sitting in them. They didn't even apologize as they went!" I said in a loud voice.

The man didn't even look in my direction.

The arrogance of some of the people who live in this area amazes me. I just read an article about a wealthy boy who killed four people in a drunk driving spree and he got completely off in court using the argument that he had 'affluenza,' a condition his psychologist gave to being sheltered because of his money. What the hell? It wouldn't surprise me if it were discovered that the judge in that case got a great lump sum cashier's check in the mail before the verdict.

"Nothing you say or do will change people like that," Mike said. Yet, we talked about it all the way back to our car. Apparently, the person behind Mike kept tapping the back of his seat with his foot. You know, that nervous tap that you get when you drink too much coffee? I'm annoyed just thinking about this!

I know those movie seats in the theater in the ritzy neighborhood were comfy, but I'm certain that it wasn't worth having to be in such close proximity with so many people afflicted with affluenza.

I have a great solution for the affluenza for that boy who killed four people. He should have been tossed in jail like anyone else would have been. His affluenza would have miraculously healed after just forty-eight hours with his inmates.

And those people in the movie theater? They should have heard my wrath about their behavior. The last time they came through, I thought of putting my leg up on the seat in front of me, where no one happened to be sitting, and barring their reentry to their seats. There were perfectly good aisle seats in at least four rows in front of me. You know how you think of the perfect thing to do or say, but never do it because you don't want to make a scene?

The only way for these people to change is if more of us peons stand up to them and set them straight. Maybe that should be a mission, a movement, a rebellion. I like telling adults that they're acting like unruly children and should behave more politely.

What about you? Will you help find a cure for affluenza? Just don't send money.

Thank you for listening, jb

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