With the holidays upon us a favorite family pastime is heading to the movies. I wanted to write this post as a friendly PSA: Please don't be an asshole at the movie theater.
During the holiday break, my friend Sheryl and her husband took their three kids to see a movie at the movie theater. (God bless her, BTW, because my kids have been begging me to take them and I was in no mood to fight the crowds.)
Anyway, she and the Hubby loaded up the kids and headed to the theater for what they thought would be a nice day together.
When they arrived at the theater, of course someone had to go to the bathroom. (No, not her husband.) They made a plan for her to take kids to the bathroom while her hubby reserved seats.
The theater was crowded and it got a bit chaotic and signals were crossed between Sheryl and her husband. Hubby thought she was taking all three kids to the bathroom and she thought he was taking the three-year-old with him to find some seats.
When they regrouped again, it was clear that no one had the youngest child. Sheryl started to hyperventilate. Hubby told her to calm down. He'd find the little guy and be right back. He told Sheryl to take a seat and wait with the other kids.
When Sheryl finally looked at the seats her husband had procured, she was surprised to see only two seats for five people. Looking around the theater she saw it was ridiculously crowded and the only empty seats were in the first row, which no one - including Sheryl - wanted. She didn't blame her husband, it seemed like it was the best he could do. Their kids are all under six years old and they've made do in the past with three or four seats between the five of them.
Next to one of her two seats, was an empty seat, but it had a coat and a purse in it - the universal sign for "Reserved."
Before Sheryl could think about that seat with the purse, her husband returned with her youngest child. He was right where Hubby thought he would be: leaving grubby hand and nose prints on the candy counter while making big sad eyes at anyone who looked like they might buy him some M&Ms.
"I'm glad you found him," Sheryl said, "but I wish you could have found at least one more seat. What are we going to do with three kids?"
"I don't know," he replied, "but as you can see there weren't any other options."
They settled into their two seats. Luckily their kids are itty bitty. Like pocket size. Really. They're tiny little kids. Little munchkins. They were able to sort of balance their three kids across the two of them.
It was getting close to show time and the purse was still on the chair next to them. Wow, thought Sheryl, that person is taking a long time getting popcorn or going to the bathroom. I hope she's OK.
Ahh Sheryl, always thinking that people are inherently good. She's never skeptical. She's always looking at the positive. If she didn't have two kids straddling her at the time, she probably would have offered to go see if the missing woman needed some help carrying popcorn.
That's when the woman sitting next to the purse said, "Wow, you only have two seats for five people?"
"Yes," Sheryl replied, shrugging. "It was the best my husband could do. This is a popular movie!"
"Well, there are lots of seats down front," the woman said.
"Yes, but those are too close," Sheryl replied. "I think these are better."
"Is she offering you her empty seat?" Hubby whispered to Sheryl.
"Huh?" Sheryl said.
"Her empty seat. The one next to you with the purse in it, 'cause I don't think she bought a ticket for that purse," Hubby said under his breath to Sheryl.
"What do you mean empty seat? That seat is reserved. See the purse and the coat? That means reserved. Someone's coming. I'm sure they're in the bathroom or something. In fact, maybe I should suggest that she go and check on her it's been a while ...." Sheryl said.
"That seat isn't being saved for anyone. It's being used as a coat rack," Hubby whispered. And then he said a little louder, "She needs to buy a ticket for that purse to sit there and I doubt she did."
"You know what? I heard him say that," purse lady said to Sheryl.
"Good, I was hoping you did," Hubby replied.
"Are you saving that seat for someone?" Sheryl asked.
"You're not saving that seat are you? It's for your purse," said Hubby.
"So what if I am?" the bag lady said, "I don't think I should have to hold my purse for an entire movie and the floor is disgusting!"
That's when Sheryl got pissed. Sheryl is the nicest lady until you push her too far. What the hell? she thought. This whole time I've been trying to juggle my kids and figure out where to put them while this selfish bitch had her damn purse and coat sitting on an empty chair that wasn't be reserved for anyone? It was all so she didn't have to hold her stupid purse in her lap?!
Sheryl had assumed that seat was being held for someone, because Sheryl is a decent person. She would have NEVER sat there and watched a family of five try to squeeze into two seats while her damn coat took up prime real estate. The nice day she had planned for her family was quickly becoming a pain in the ass thanks to the purse lady.
Sheryl turned to her and said, "Can you hear yourself? You don't think you should have to hold your purse on your lap, but I should have to hold three kids! We bought tickets for all of five of us and that should guarantee my children a seat before your stupid purse. Unless, of course, you bought a ticket for your purse. Did you buy a ticket for your purse? I have an idea, why don't you put your purse in the those empty seats in the front row?"
Who sits in a crowded movie theater and fights to keep her purse and coat in an empty seat? Only assholes. Purse lady didn't have a response, because she knew she was an asshole. How could she defend taking up a seat for her coat and purse while people struggled to find seats? She couldn't. So, she decided to change her attack and go for Sheryl's jugular. "Well," she hissed at Sheryl. "at least I don't lose my kids. I can keep track of mine."
Oh hell no! It was a good thing Sheryl had 80 pounds of kids sitting on top of her at that moment or she might have jumped that woman and ended up in jail and Youtube. I can see the Youtube description: "Cold Snap! Two moms make the popcorn fly at Frozen! Watch two middle-aged suburbanite women brawl over the last empty seat in the theater. What would Bambi's mom have done?"
"So you're telling me your kids have never gotten away from you?" Sheryl asked the bag lady.
"Of course not!"
"Oh, I seriously doubt that!" Sheryl replied.
"Never. I'm a good mother," said the purse lady.
"So am I," said Sheryl. "I brought my kids to the movie today for a nice day and I will not let you and your purse ruin it."
That's when Sheryl plopped her teeny tiny six year old down in the purse chair, forcing the woman to move her coat and purse.
Good for Sheryl. She managed to stick up for herself and get her kid a seat and not go to jail.
I would have ended up on Youtube.
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