March 29, 2011

Why I don’t go out much, part 1

Filed under: 20-minute,rants — Mark Dalrymple @ 5:24 pm
Tags: , ,


Gollum crabI tend not to go to movies. I think I’ve been to two films in the last year : Up, and Despicable Me, and that was mainly at the insistence of my close circle of friends who really wanted to see these films. I tend also not to go to the symphony, which is a shame because the Pittsburgh Symphony is a truly amazing organization. I also tend not to go to local performances, like high school musicals, community orchestras, or band concerts.

It’s not that I’m agoraphobic, or anti-social. I just have a curse. It must be punishment for the sins of a previous life.

I attract horrifically annoying people.

I’m not talking about the “oh, let me check my email half-way through the movie” type, or the occasional “what was that?” whisper during a strange scene. I’m talking about the pathologically and willfully rude .

Here are a couple of examples.

Lord of the Rings 1: Sharlotte and I went to our local theater on the last week of the theatrical release, on a Wednesday at 8pm. We were the only folks there. (Rapture!). About an hour into it, a family of Large People showed up. He in a mullet, she had a kind of mullet too, and two too-young children. It was too dark to check their mullet states. Maybe ages 7 and 9. It was a school night, after all.

And, of course, they sat on our row, blocking us in. They then proceeded to consume Mass Quantities of very noisy food. Because they missed the first hour, there were many (loud) cries of “what’s that? What the hell is that?”. About half an hour before the film ended, they left and went to the lobby to play video games.

Lord of the Rings 2: we went with a group of friends on opening night, at another theater about 15 miles away. We sat in the back row so nobody annoying would be behind us. Little did we know that at the end of our row a guy with a bag of pistachios had set up shop. A solid hour and a half of “crinkle crinkle crinkle; Snap; crunch, chew-smack-chew, rattle rattle”. The last rattles were the pistachio shells hitting the floor. As expected, the rattling got louder and longer as more and more shells accumulated on the floor. Turns out this guy was hard of hearing, as was his wife. So once Gollum showed up on screen, the refrain of “what the hell is that?” “I dunno, what the hellis that?” was frequently heard.

Lord of the Rings 3: My friend RedToade didn’t believe me when I said I’m cursed. We saw the third LotR movie in his part of the world, about 50 miles away from home. He had us sit in the middle of the sparsely attended theater. “Yay! I might be able to enjoy a movie for once!”. But no. Right before the previews started, a father and young son set up shop behind us. The boy was one of those open-mouth chewers who could extract the maximal amount of noise from one piece of popcorn, and he had one of the 30 pound jumbo bags. I could only stand an hour of it until I turned around and asked him to chew with his mouth closed. He also had large fizzy drinks. In fact, he had two of them, and spilled them both. We had to keep our feet up on the seats in front of us, lest we get sticky feet.

Lord of the Rings Symphony: Howard Shore, the composer of the LoTR sound tracks, was on a tour conducting his “Lord of the Rings Symphony”. He was in Pittsburgh, so Sharlotte and I went. We had good tickets on the rim of the “family circle”. The rows were just four seats across, and along the side of the auditorium, with the orchestra-section seating on the floor below us.

Behind us was a gum-chewer. All through the first half I heard “chomp smack SNAP POP smack smack”, including lots of loud pops during Gollum’s Song, my favorite part. On the floor below us was a family of five: two oblivious parents and three young boys doing the “stop touching me you’re touching me” routine. Luckily the gum babe left at halftime. But she was replaced with a guy with a mohawk who sat in front of us. That guy was the most well-behaved individual of the evening. I wanted to hug him, but I feared for my eyes getting poked out.

And so, please don’t be offended if I decline an invitation to attend a public performance with you. It’s not you.  It’s me.

(There’s a Part 2, too)

1 Comment »

  1. ROFLOL! He’s not kidding folks . . . this really happens!

    Comment by Sharlotte — February 22, 2012 @ 10:51 pm | Reply

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