Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some Shorts

So Scott and I got out last week to go see a movie (Public Enemies, if anyone cares). While we were in the very short line to buy our tickets, it seems we fell through some sort of wormhole and ended up at the Bizarro-Theater...

First, an older man, looking very much like Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future, was purchasing tickets -- to which movie, we did not know as we entered the lobby during his transaction. As he was collecting the tickets and his change, he was dialing his cell phone, apparently to call his movie-going companion. Though he was wearing a corded headset with the phone, he must have been talking to somebody who was deaf, or maybe he was deaf, because he was SHOUTING. I'm going to call him Mr. Crazy for the rest of this tale.

"Are you here yet?"

The person on the other end of the line, hereby referred to as "Dumb Bunny" or "DB" for my own amusement, answered something that annoyed him.

"Well, you would be if you had left when I told you to leave! Don't give me some flimsy sob story excuse, you knew what time you had to leave to meet me on time for the movie."

His cutting tone prompted me to glance slyly over my shoulder. At first, I wasn't sure that he was on the phone as the fraying gray trench coat obscured my view of his headset -- I did momentarily think that he was talking to himself. I studied him for a moment, noticing that he was wearing shorts, dark socks and Crocs. His posture was that of a petulant child, gut paunched out, shoulders down and back and chin jutted forward at such an angle that it looked as it his neck extended forwards from his shoulders instead of on top of them. He shuffled back and forth, pacing two feet one direction, then back the other direction. He held the cell phone in his right hand, but his left was glued to his side.

DB said something else, also very annoying to Mr. Crazy.

"Well, you should have been here by now. That traffic light isn't that long. Where are you? You would have been on time if you had left when I told you to leave."

After berating DB three or four more times about being late, DB must have been approaching the parking lot because Mr. Crazy announced that when she (I did assume his caller was a woman) pulled into the lot, his minivan was on the right.

"Well, my little minivan is on the right in a row close to the door."

Perhaps if Mr. Crazy had given his caller a row number, she might have had a better shot of guessing the correct row into which she should turn. But he didn't give her that information, nor could I tell that he'd communicated that she was to park next to him.

"Well, you need to turn right now. Turn right now. No, not that right, your other right! I said your other right. No, I said your other right. You turned the wrong direction! I told you your other right! The OTHER RIGHT! OTHER RIGHT!!!"

By this time, I wasn't hiding the fact that I was staring at him like he'd just fallen out of a space ship. Scott had clearly noticed him and, I could tell, was concerned about the malevolence in Mr. Crazy's voice. Like our beloved dogs, Scott adopts a certain level of tension whenever he's starting to get worried about a situation -- the MAN in him comes out and he goes into extra-protective mode.

"Well, you could have been parked next to me if you had turned right when I told you to turn."

Mr. Crazy has started everything he's said with "well," as if he was deflecting some implied criticism. Given the minuscule pauses in his tirade, I doubt that DB had enough time to say more than three or four words, so I can't believe that she was harassing him, so his use of "well" must be habit. I'm not sure that I could personally enjoy much conversation with a person who starts every sentence with "well," like a thirteen-year-old boy trying to explain his way out of a detention. Then again, I don't think that I could live with a person who yelled at me over the phone -- even once.

While this is going down, the patrons directly in front of us had been trying to sneak a couple of 13 or 14 year-old girls into a R rated movie. When ticket girl had asked for ID, the only one in the group who looked to be 17 or 18 said (let's call him Mr. Hot Pants), "I've got mine. But they (the Pantsies) don't have theirs."

Mr. Hot Pants looked like a pretty typical Iowa late teen/early 20's non-college student. I say non-college because he has a bit of that whole "Rebel Without a Cause" air about him, and a mullet. Sure, not everyone who adopts that hairstyle skips college and heads straight to the wide world of trailer park mansions, but I've been working on a college campus for a while now and the majority of college boys give off a much different vibe. I am making an assumption here, so if you want to disagree with my assessment, I won't hold it against you.

The girls looked like your average middle schoolers with their Fruit Smackers lip gloss and short shorts. Both girls stood with their legs crossed; one was flipping her hair and the other smacking gum. They were trying their best to appear older than eight graders.

Ticket girl told Mr. Hot Pants that they all needed ID cards and he flipped on her, swearing. "I can't believe it! Shouldn't one ID get us all in? You f-ing c-nt!" he paused for a moment and added, "Then gimme two tickets to Ice Age for them." The Pantsies rolled their eyes and huffed.

Scott slides forward in line and is about to ask for our tickets and I suggest to him that he ask the ticket girl if Mr. Crazy was going to be attending the same screening that we were.

Scott leans toward the safety glass and says, "Two for Public Enemies, unless he's going to that showing. I don't get out to many movies and prefer not to go to the ones with crazy people in the audience."

The ticket girl, who looks like she is 17, blinks her heavily mascaraed sparkly blue eyelids and says, "Nope. And I don't blame you." She doesn't look phased at all to see Mr. Crazy so enraged with his yet-to-arrive companion that he's vibrating, nor does she seem agitated by Mr. Hot Pant's fury.

I really wanted to say, "Hey, Mr. Hot Pants -- check out your future self in Mr. Crazy over there!" If my kids were to behave like either of these exemplary role models, they would be staring at their ceiling in the Land of the Grounded for Life compound.

And the Pantsies? Well when Mr. Crazy's companion (yes, she was a woman) arrived, she slunk into the lobby with a cowboy hat pulled low over her face. She didn't look at anyone but Mr. Crazy, and when she looked at him, her face was a mess of emotion -- frustration, fear, embarrassment... Is this what your future is holding, dear Pantsies? I wanna know what parent allows their daughter out of the house wearing shorts cut off so short that the pockets are hanging out the bottom -- who thinks that this is attractive? Who wants their daughters to attract that kind of attention? I'm not advocating a return to Victorian morals, but I don't want my daughter wearing shorts so tiny she has to yank on them just to cover her underwear -- pants should automatically cover your undergarments.

When did become OK to let your inner crazy shine in public? When is it ever OK to treat your companions like rabid child-killing dogs just because they didn't park next to you? When is it ever OK to swear at a service provider? Why don't people respect each other (or themselves) more?

I would never publicly berate my companion, nor would I stand for it if he treated me badly. I would never get mad when someone caught me breaking a rule, no matter ho arbitrary the rule seems.

And, for the love of all things chocolate, I would never wear short shorts -- at this point in my life, that might be the biggest crime I could commit.

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