I may be an asshole. I don’t know. Usually I do know. When I’m being one, that is. But, this time, well, it could be a gray area. You decide.
I went to the movies yesterday with my injured friend. We saw the one with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis. It was fine. A nice, uplifting, run-of-the-mill tale of regular folks triumphing over “the man”, led by a couple of unlikely heroines. I don’t remember the name of it.
I realized later that I may not watch movies the same way other people do. I don’t go to the movies very often because I get a little antsy in theaters. My mind tends to wander, which causes me, very often, to miss the point. One would have to be pretty darn dense to miss the point of this movie, though. Still, my mind wandered. I may have become a little too focused on things other than the plot. Like, for example, Viola Davis’ wardrobe, which included lots of sweaters and wrap dresses that I loved (loved!).
As much as I liked the wardrobe choices, the hairstyles and make-up were distracting. Viola Davis looked kind of disheveled and poor Maggie was sporting a 1970s “shag”.
The worst, by far, though was Holly Hunter. I don’t know if her character was based on a real-life person (Viola’s and Maggie’s were, but sometimes they add, remove, or combine characters in these “based on actual events” movies). It may have been a wig. I don’t know. It was atrocious. It eclipsed her very small, finely-featured face. Her hair resembled a helmet. A blonde, poorly highlighted helmet. The make-up that was used on her washed her out; she just looked pale and beady-eyed under all that horrible hair. I can only assume that she had done something terrible to someone on the set who was determined to make her look old and unattractive. In future, perhaps she should be nicer.
Also, it was driving me a little crazy that I couldn’t place the actor who played Viola’s husband. My friend suggested it might be RuPaul out of drag. It wasn’t, of course, but this image only served to further muddy the waters of my already addled brain. Finally, about three-quarters of the way through the film, I figured it out (he’s on “Fringe”). Luckily, he’s bald and very, very black, so no hair or make-up damage could be inflicted upon him.
About halfway through the movie, there was some excitement. Not on the screen, though. The theater experienced some technical difficulty. There was sound, but no picture. No one got excited for the first minute, hoping, I guess, that the video would right itself. It didn’t. This is where the movie got interesting for me.
Little by little, people started to get up and leave the theater, I assumed to alert someone of the problem. Okay. Then a woman in front of me jumped out of her seat, turned on her phone for exta light, and bounded up the aisle toward the projection booth. She began to pound on what I guessed was the door. At this point I burst out laughing. With that, she spun around and directed her phone light toward me. As she did so, I saw that her lips were pursed and her hand was on her hip. Clearly she meant business. I couldn’t help myself. Her behavior and her posture made me laugh even harder.
Satisfied that she had found the perpetrator, she came down the couple of steps toward me. I was still laughing. My companion nudged me with her good elbow, I suppose she was trying to alert me to the other woman’s presence, but I knew she was there. I just couldn’t really say anything because I was laughing so hard. At the fact that this crazy woman actually thought there was a person in the projection booth. In 2012.
I composed myself as best as I could and, shielding my eyes from what I was beginning to think of as her “interrogation” light, looked up at her. She asked me what was so funny. As if she didn’t know. I felt some more elbowing from my friend, but I just couldn’t help myself. I said, “You are. Oh, my God. Do you think there is an actual person in that booth? Do you think this is 1972? Or were you hoping to encounter ‘The Great and Powerful Oz’?” To which she replied, very excitedly, “Well, someone had to do something.” That was it. I started laughing again. She just stood there for a few more seconds. Then she went back to her seat. And waited, with the rest of us, for the video to kick in again.
It did. It started up from where it had cut out a few minutes before. No harm. No foul. And I got to have a few laughs in the interim. So, it had all worked out as far as I was concerned. I thought the excitement was over. I was wrong.
When the movie ended and we were all filing out I heard this guy who was directly behind me very rudely ask one of the young ladies who was on her way in to clean the theater “Where the Manager at?” “O, my God”, I thought, “I am surrounded by crazy people.” I was surprised that his companion was not the woman hell bent on finding the projectionist. He looked at me, all defiant and pleased with himself, and said, “What?”
My friend grabbed my arm and shook her head “No” at me. But I made the concscious decision to call him out. So, I looked him straight in the eye (which was kind of hard, as he was about 6’3″) and said, “What? Let me guess, you are going to lodge a complaint about the video cutting out on the bargain matinee movie. The video that was fixed in a few minutes. The video that was restarted where it cut out, causing no one to miss one second of the movie. A movie whose storyline any five-year-old could have followed, with or without the missing scene. A scene that was not, in fact, missed. That’s your plan, right? Which, by the way, I don’t care about. I don’t give a hoot that you are going to find a manager, who gets paid to listen to people like yo. Sadly you’ll probably get a free movie because of the trauma you clearly had to suffer because of a little technical problem. Really. I don’t. But, here’s what I do care about: That you felt the need to be rude to a couple of teenage employees. That’s just ridiculous. And, let me just ask you, where are your manners at?”
His response? He didn’t have one. Nothing. Silence. Crickets.
Whatever. I wasn’t trying to tangle with him. I just wanted to get the point across that being disrespectful to a couple of minimum wage workers was not okay.
I visited the bathroom on the way out of the theater. While I was washing my hands an elderly woman told me that I was brave for confronting the guy (I guess because he was a pretty big guy). I thanked her, but realized that I didn’t feel so much brave as I felt disappointed.
In my job I have to put up with nonsense like that every day. As an added bonus, I get to take it with a smile. I hate when people speak disrespectfully to me or to my coworkers. I really hate it when bullies and buffoons treat workers in public places (supermarkets, drug stores, retail stores, etc.) like crap and often for no other reason than “just because they can”. So, maybe I tend to overreact when I have the opportunity to speak up for them (and, by extension, for me).
Also, I just find the whole “entitled consumer” act to be such bullshit. I would like to see one retail establishment make it their policy that if your complaint includes treating their employees poorly, in the process of explaining your problem, that all bets are off, so to speak. You get nothing. And let’s put “irate” into perspective, too, shall we? You don’t need to behave as if someone stole your wallet if the cashier charged you twice for the blackberries. People make mistakes.
Maybe it was a mistake to say anything to the guy. Maybe not. Maybe he’ll think twice before he behaves that way again. But, probably not.
Maybe I shouldn’t have laughed at the woman during the technical difficulty or, at least, refrained from making the “Oz” comment. Maybe I was an asshole, too. Maybe not. I don’t know. You decide.