Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Theater is a Temple*

Scene:  A theater, about ten minutes before curtain.  I am in my seat, which is on the aisle towards the back of the house, playing a game on my iPhone while I wait for the show to start.  An old woman enters the house, making her way down the aisle.  Like many other patrons steadying themselves, she grabs my chair as she steps down.

Old Woman:  Excuse me.

I look up from my phone smiling to acknowledge that it's fine that she bumped me.

Old Woman: Excuse me, you need to turn that off.  She points to my phone.

Me:  What?

Old Woman:  You need to turn that off.

Me:  There's still ten minutes to curtain.

Old Woman:  You're in a theater, and it's disruptive.  Turn it off right now.  Show some respect.

Me:  My first thought, a shocked and irrational: "Do you have any idea who you are speaking to?" is silent.  Instead I say as nicely as I can,  It's on silent and it's on airplane mode so it's not interfering with anything.  I will turn it off when the show begins.

Old Woman:  It's not appropriate in a theater at any time.  Turn it off.  She nods at me, a Mary Poppins-like punctuation mark, and continues down the aisle.

P.S.  Whenever the audience around me misbehaved during the show (old man to the right crinkling candy post-intermission, young man who fell asleep and snored in the first act, Japanese couple whispering translations throughout), I looked for the Old Woman to swoop in and take care of it.  Alas, she never appeared again.

* Watch this, if you don't instinctively read that in Nathan Lane's voice

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