Sit down. Shut up. Laugh.

2009-09-25 14:08
Ever thrown popcorn at someone in a movie theatre? I know it's not good behaviour, but I was sorely provoked.

I'd gone to see The Pianist at The Labia (an innocent arts cinema in Cape Town, FYI) and three German women in front of me kept complaining about how the Nazis were being unfairly represented by the film. They were complaining loudly and in English, so it was really distracting! Eventually, I launched a popcorn bombardment, which nearly resulted in a violent counter-attack so I admitted I was outnumbered and retreated to the back row. Just before the film ended and the lights went up, the victims of my bombing raid scuttled out like roaches. Ah, the things we do in the dark…

The world is so full of weirdos that I'm never sure what's more amusing: the show I've paid to see, or the other people in the audience.

At stand-up comedy gigs, for example, you'll meet the people who treat laughter like a form of humour-rape. "Ag no man!" they scream. "Gross!" they protest. Or just "No! No! No! Jesus! No!" But these guys are - thankfully - a few evolutionary steps up the chain from those who don't even laugh, because they're too busy making eye contact with each other to check if it's ok to laugh before they do, which ends up with neither of them laughing because nobody wants to go first.

They're almost as bad as the people who arrive coked up / drunk, and chat, SMS, jiggle the seats and surf the web on their Blackberries while you're trying to focus. Who knows who they're talking to. Maybe their drug dealer? Maybe the person they shag when they've run out of drugs? Who cares – I just wish they'd shut up, keep still, or leave the room already.  

Then of course, there's that loving couple that actually should just get a room. Hot tip for lovers #1: No couple who've been dating for fewer than three months should EVER attempt to watch a show together. Foreplay is great. As a feminist, I'm fully in favour – but I don't want you frottaging away right on top of me, you know? (For a start, it makes me feel all left out.)

While we're there, respecting other people's physical space is an essential civilised principle when sharing a cinema or other seating situation. And that guy who sits with his legs wide open right next to me drives me wild - with annoyance – because it forces me to curl into a ball to avoid touching his knee the whole time. Tell me, Mr Display Case: how damn big and sexy do you think your gonads are actually? Not so big and sexy that I ain't gonna break them, I suspect. Do you really want to find out?

Next up! People who go Woooooh! And slap their knees a lot. Like playing a vuvuzela, doing someone up the ass, or blowing one of those gay-party whistles, I'm guessing it's pretty fun if you're the one inflicting the pain, but being on the receiving end unexpectedly really sucks.

Finally, the worst person of all to be stuck next to is someone who smells. It's like this story I heard years ago, about a guy who was attacked by a lion. After subduing him with a bite and a shake or two, the Mr Lion took Mr Din-Dins' shoulder in his mouth, and dragged him a few kilometres. The man, who survived somehow, said the Lion's teeth hurt, but that the pain in his arm wasn't nearly as terrible as the unbearable stench of rotten meat on the lion's breath. Sitting next to the average unwashed bean-barfing hippie in a show is much the same. Dude, you've discovered Flower Power - now try Shower Power! publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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