A couple of weeks ago, Barb and I decided to take in a movie, so off we went to our local theater. We grabbed some popcorn and found our seats. We like to sit in the middle about halfway up. There were only about eight people scattered around. I love it when itâ€™s not crowded. The lights dimmed. When the camel came on the screen reminding us to turn off our phones (Barb loves that camel), we checked our phones and settled back to be taken on a wild ride of action and adventure with the new Jack Ryan movie.
Now, I know all of us have had the experience of people who talk and text during the previews, occasionally you might hear a tune playing. But usually you get through a movie with little disturbance. Well, that wasnâ€™t to be the case for us this time.
The movie started and the guy sitting down a few rows and to the right obviously didnâ€™t listen to the camel. He was texting. Since the theater wasnâ€™t full, the light from his phone really reflected. I moved my head just a little so as not to be distracted, but the older guy sitting behind and to the right of him had full view. I felt really sorry for him, but figured Jerk would finish and turn it off. That didnâ€™t happen. Over the next thirty or more minutes he texted constantly. How do you follow a movie if you are texting all the time? He was a texting ABUSER! The guy behind him got up and left, but came back to his seat. I figured he went to tell theater management to come in and tell Jerk to stop. But no one came. About ten minutes later, the older guy did what most people would do â€“ he asked him to turn it off.
Well holy moly, all hell broke loose.
Jerk jumped up, called the old guy names and threatened him. Then he came at the guy still calling him names. A man sitting with the woman in front of us got up and tried to get Jerk to settle down. It didnâ€™t work. One woman ran out to get help, another man sitting with his family also got up to help. Jerk came at the old guy again and this time threw punches. Barb and I called out for Jerk to stop. I tried to find my phone to call 911, but couldnâ€™t get it turned on. My heart raced. I wondered what to do next. The two men who intervened got Jerk off the old guy. Jerk and one man left the theater; the old guy got up and went out the exit. Barb and I sat there wondering what was going to happen next. Meanwhile the movie had been rolling along and Jack Ryan was in a high speed car racing scene on the big screen.
The movie stopped playing, the manager arrived and we gave her the details of the altercation. We each received a free movie ticket and a full refund. They started the movie again, taking it back to the point when the disturbance began.
Later that day I thought about what happened and how texting has gotten out of control. How lucky we had been. We hear about the situations in movie theaters, texting and driving, and the lives destroyed by it. But then I thought about other times people text (myself included) and wondered how it affects others. You know what itâ€™s like to be with family and friends having a conversation and they pick up their phone to either send or answer a text while youâ€™re talking. Or at a meeting, have you ever wondered what the speaker is thinking when they look out over the audience and see people with their heads down tapping away on their phones? They could hope weâ€™re tweeting about what a great speaker they are. Or do we consider if weâ€™re annoying the people around us and being rude to the speaker?
All I know is that after my experience, I think twice now before I take my phone out to text in public and when Iâ€™m with my friends and family.