|rude - adjective
1.discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way
2.without culture, learning, or refinement
3.rough in manners or behaviour; unmannerly; uncouth.
I went to the movies today. I saw Cloud Atlas, which was entertaining and beautiful and a quite all right way to pass a few hours. Towards the end, I threw a sweet at the guy next to me. Hard.
Going to the movies has been one of my favourite activities since I was a child. Back then it was something special, a reward or designated treat. Later it became a way to treat myself and find inspiration. Now it's a social, inspiring, entertaining and peaceful thing to do. But I used to have a problem... a problem that just might be resurfacing. I used to think that someone, anyone, should make sure that no one in the audience disturbed the movie experience for the people around them... and that someone usually had to be me. I admit I've lied, schemed and littered to make it happen. And I take no pride in my actions (at least not very much). Most of them can be attributed to youthful indiscretion and delusions of grandeur. At least until tonight.
1. I invented the "Civilian Cinema Guards"
This started when I was about 17. I sat behind two boys, a few years younger than me, and they were being absolutely obnoxious. I'm not saying what I did was right, but what they did was worse. They were loud, commenting on everything that happened, laughing loud at emotional scenes, texting... at least I think this is what they did. I honestly can't remember. But they were annoying. And they were not just annoying to me. They kept going. Much like villains in the movies, who are pushed and pushed and pushed until they finally snap, I was pushed and pushed and pushed... until they awoken the Flickster (my cinema vigelante super hero personality).
Flickster very quietly stood up and leaned over in between them. She said: "Hi, my name is Amelia, and I'm a civilian movie guard here. If you don't quiet down right now, I'll have to ask you to leave."
And so they did. They shut up right away. Two terrified boys, probably a little younger than I had first thought, sat quiet as mice and watched the movie. The problem was solved, and the Flickster was unleashed upon the world.
|The Flickster, armed with a CCG-badge and a box of popcorn.|
2. The Flickster threw an entire group of teenagers out of a movie theatre.
The CCG-scheme worked quite well, and every now and then the Flickster would make an appearance. Always to younger people, and only if they annoyed more people than me. The Flickster grew stronger and smarter, and I could no longer contain and control her... I'm ashamed to admit: I didn't even try.
One or two years later I sat (embarrassingly far) behind a group of teens, who did everything the Flickster hated. They shouted, they threw popcorn, they were kicking the seats in front of them, and as this all took place in Norway and the group was tough-looking, no one said a word. Until the Flickster snapped. Quickly and efficiently she climbed over the seats between us... the theatre wasn't even half full, and yet she was enraged. This group was young (about 14-15), but not stupid, so I felt I would need a little extra ammunition. From my wallet I had, quite unconsciously, pulled my library card.
The Flickster held it up in front of them, and said:
"I'm a civilian cinema guard here, and I've received so many complaints about you that I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave, right away." A second went by, two, three, I didn't move, I didn't flinch. And then they left. They just stood up and went away. 9 kids left the seats they had paid for, and walked away. Albeit, yelling "this movie sucks anyway," but they still left. People in the audience were happy, but the friends I was there with were not amused.
I understood. She was out of control. The Flickster could have gotten me into serious trouble. She could have gotten my friends into trouble. The past few years she had been a good companion, but she was growing too fast and going too far. She would have to be put down. Subdued. Locked away somewhere safe.
I had just thrown people (quite a lot of people!) out of the cinema... Thrown them out.
Not only had I been impersonating a person of authority, I had used my fake authority to manipulate the world around me. It hit me that the Flickster might not be entirely good. I had thought she was a superhero, but maybe she was a villain... I had to reel her in.
3. I threw popcorn at a posh lady, because she was talking on her mobile mid film.
Months later, a phone was ringing a few rows behind me. I managed to keep the She-Flick down, and wasn't even all that annoyed. The person, a beautiful, blonde woman in her 40s, the type who's got perfect fingernails, perfect hair and whose clothes don't even crease (she might have been a witch), decided to answer her phone instead of turning it of. Even then I kept the FlicksterFemale down, expecting the woman to say "I'm sorry, I'm in the movies, call you later" or "hold on, I'll just leave the theatre" or a variation over the theme. But she didn't. She started talking. And she was commenting on the movie, retelling the plot, even spoiling things she knew would happen... and I couldn't keep the vigilante quiet any longer.
I turned around and started throwing popcorn, one at a time, at the lady. Slowly, and while facing her 100%.
When the initial bafflement had subsided, she said "what on earth are you doing?" (I might point out that she was still talking on her phone, and told the person on the other end that she was being thrown popcorn at).
Flickster answered: You come from a place where it's polite to chat on the phone while you're at the cinema, I'm from a place where it's polite to throw popcorn at people. If you wish, we can both give in and follow the rules of normal society.
She was offended, but agreed. Two strangers patted me on the back. That acted much like a drug for the Flickster, and for a while I struggled to put her back in her cage. I managed it at last, and she's been quiet for years, except for the occasional popcorn throwing. And then today happened.
4. I threw a sweet at the guy next to me. Hard.
Suddenly and out of the blue, the Flickster made an appearance today. The guys next to me were chatting and laughing. And to be fair, they weren't incredibly loud, and I doubt they annoyed more than 3-4 people. I didn't think too much about them, I wasn't particularly annoyed, but out of the blue I found my self throwing a sweet at them. The Flicksterium was back, and she enjoyed it. She was lured out during a quiet and very sad scene, where the boys were joking and laughing, louder than they had before.
The SMACK as the sour candy hit the guy next to me, flat in the face, sent a shiver down my spine. Also because I noticed how much smarter Flicksterella has become since the last time she was on the lose. I kept staring at the screen, chewing my own candy, looking innocent and spellbound by the movie. He was 98% I had done it on purpose. But he couldn't be sure. Not really. Maybe I just didn't like the sweet and had carelessly thrown it aside? Maybe it was the guy on the other side of me, whom I had been feeding sweets all through the movie? He couldn't know. And Flicksteria rejoyced.
They didn't confront me. They quieted down quite a bit, and the guy seemed mostly shocked by the event, and laughed about it several times. He even held on to the sweet for a while. Because he couldn't really know. And Flicksterina had a great time thinking up excuses she would use if confronted (oh, I'm sorry, I thought since it's okay for you to be a bastard and talk through the movie, that it would be okay for me to be a bitch and throw candy at you) and enjoying the fact that Santa, the friend I was with, found it more fun than horrifying.
I promise I will get her under control again. I know this is no way to behave. Throwing sweets at people in stead of politely asking the person to be quiet... Childish, I know. I'll get her back behind bars.
But until I do, know that she is out there, making the movie experience a little quieter, or a little more eventful , a little nicer and a little funnier. And she's doing it for you.