Joshua and I used to go to the movies every weekend. Before we had kids, we’d sometimes go on Saturday and Sunday. There was no movie so bad we wouldn’t go see it. (We even sat through an excruciating almost 3 hours of “The Thin Red Line”. Uuugh) In the past year our movie-going has diminished to maybe twice a month, but the fact remains that there are occasions when watching the other people entering the theater is as entertaining as the movie itself. We always marvel at the couples who walk in and then begin arguing loudly and passionately about where to sit, as if this decision might impact the rest of their lives.
Today I took Maya and Ben to see the 2nd Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie. We went to the 1pm show, which normally means, on a Friday afternoon, that we have the theater mostly to ourselves. This week however, some of the private schools are on their spring break, so the theater was about half full. Prior to going in and sitting down we made a stop at the bathrooms and this was the exchange that we – and I’m sure everyone else - heard between a mother and her 9 or 10 year old son.
Mother: You’re coming in here with me. I need to go to the bathroom.
Son: I don’t want to go in to the women’s bathroom Mom! (he is physically pulling against her but she has a death grip on his arm)
Mother: You’re coming in. Stop arguing with me!
Son: Why can’t I just wait outside with Michael? (I think Michael was a friend.)
Mother: Because I won’t know where you are. Now come in here with me.
Son: Mom- (this was dragged out in a long Mo-o-o-o-m)
Mother: (Yelling) Fine! We are NEVER going to a movie theater again!
Really? Never? You are never going to take your son to a movie theater again? Sure, that’ll happen. Oh, the realm of the empty threat. And parents wonder why kids ignore them. This was less entertaining and more painful to watch than exchanges Joshua and I often witness. But lucky us, it wasn’t over! Once we’d seated ourselves in the theater, the same mother and two boys (her son and Michael, I presume) came in a few minutes later and entered the row in front of us. The boys moved in a few seats, but Mom stopped dead at the end.
Mother: Boys! You’ve got to move down here.
Son: Why? We like to sit in the middle.
Mother: I’m sitting on the aisle. Move down now!
Then she proceeded to sit down and put her feet up on the seat in front of her.
Wow, talk about a fun time at the movies! Why do people argue loudly in public? Or loudly act like jerks to their kids? Do they think no one can hear them? Can you tell that it’s the adults who have been getting on my nerves this week? Imagine how the kids must feel! I always know the parents were really out of line when my kids comment. And they were both wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the woman from today – “the mean Mom at the theater” as Ben described her later to Joshua.
My thoughts on movie-going with kids are as follows: When going to see a movie they have chosen (or even one you’ve chosen because you think they’ll like it), don’t insist on everything being your way or the highway. There is no greater buzz kill than a whiny adult bossing everyone around. Get some snacks for them, even if they aren’t organic and the kids just had lunch. It’s the movies, for crying out loud! (Yes, I know they are overpriced – you can still get ONE bag of popcorn.) Sit where they want to sit, even if it means you are a few seats out of your comfort zone. And for gods sake, don’t be rude and loud and then stick your NYC sidewalk filth covered shoes all over the seat in front of you. (Try not to do this even if you aren’t with your kids – it’s gross.) In short, think about how you would like to be treated. Remember talking to your kids about “The Golden Rule”?
It applies to adults too.