The Rant

Would You Kindly Shut the Hell Up?

In this no-RSVPing world, where people start every sentence with "I," we need to make being polite the new hep thing


The couple entered the movie after the previews had already started. Seeing as I am dating someone who has been on time for precisely nothing his whole life, I can sympathize with that part. I cannot recall the last time I’ve walked into a theater and not willed my pupils to expand more rapidly. I cannot recall the last time I haven’t wished I were a cat or a bat or something that sees in the dark. (Wait, aren’t bats blind?)

I digress.

So, OK, they weren’t on time for the movie. Fine. But this couple entered talking to each other as if no previews were playing at all. They talked to each other at full volume, as if they had the whole theater to themselves.

“WHAT’S THIS MOVIE ABOUT, AGAIN?” asked Audrey, who in case you were worried sick was, indeed, just fine with her seat … directly behind me. I have no idea what I did to anger God so.

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The two of them talked at full throttle throughout the whole film. I have no idea if I liked the movie or not, because I was so busy murdering them 17 ways in my mind.

These were not inconsiderate teenagers or hard-of-hearing older folks. They were probably in their 50s, and when they weren’t bellowing to each other, they were kicking my seat as if I have no nerve endings.

Guess what? I have nerves. And they were on them.

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The point of this diatribe is, am I quickly becoming the world’s crabbiest individual or are people getting less considerate? I watch couples stare at their phones through entire dinners, never acknowledging one another. I sit behind people texting at the symphony with no concern that I’m being blinded by their light. I see moms at the grocery store, doing that thing where they talk to their kids in an exaggerated fashion, so you know perfectly well they are talking not to interact with their child, but so that everyone else will notice them.

Who raised these people? Even though my parents were such giant hippies they made Jerry Garcia look like a stern taskmaster, they STILL taught me to be considerate of other people.

It seems like every time I enter a restaurant, I’m seated next to the huge table having a party. Here’s a thought: If you’re going to have a party? HAVE ONE AT HOME. Other people are there, too, you know, paying for a meal just as you are, and I cannot tell you how little desire they have to hear your whole group laugh and clap and hoot and carry on.

Hoot at home. Or pony up for the private room, jerk.

In this no-RSVPing, "bringing 15 grocery items to the 10-items-or-fewer line," "start every sentence with I" world, maybe what we need is to find a way to make being polite the new hep thing. Maybe I should not be in charge of this, seeing as I say things like “hep.”

We could start a “Being Polite” Facebook page. A whole Twitter section about what we did or saw that was considerate that day. Maybe a reality show called "America’s Most Considerate" or something. There will be no finger-waving ever, in that show. Maybe we could have a makeover show, where a rude person comes in, poring over their cell phone, and emerges friendly and engaged, ready to have a real conversation with others.

Just not at full volume at the movies.

Tags: well being

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