How to deal with an obnoxious moviegoer
I found this short story from The Oatmeal really quite funny. I hope you do too. Enjoy.
Occasionally I get free movie tickets. Friends, co-workers, or family lands a few and I get to go see a movie on someone else’s dime. Free is great, but the people who attend free movies are not. On this particular occasion, I got a ticket to go see Sunshine, which I was very excited about primarily because the trailer used the Requiem for a Dream song, which makes any movie look like a tear-jerking, epic masterpiece. I was also excited because it was directed by Danny Boyle, whose other works include Slumdog Millionaire, Shrieking Monkey Plague, and Shrieking Monkey Plague 2 – Lets Throw Up Blood On One Another.
So my friend sat down next to me at the theater and the movie was about to begin. “What’s that smell?” she asked, “It smells like pee.”
Unflinching, her boyfriend responded: “It’s clam chowder.”
Sure enough, sitting one row back and three seats to our left was a woman holding a large to-go order of clam chowder which she’d snuck into the theater. Surprisingly, clam chowder smells very similar to urine when you don’t know where the source is – it’s like the asparagus of soups.
The woman herself looked like a water buffalo in a sweatshirt. She had broad shoulders and a stern, oppressive brow. Her twinkling eyes were fixed straight ahead in the dim theater light, but her powerful jaw moved rapidly to break down the large spoonfuls of chowder which she rhythmically pounded into her mouth. This woman did not simply eat clam chowder, she grazed on it.
Twenty minutes into the film I heard her. She was talking to the screen – narrating her thoughts and feelings, as well as answering rhetorical questions asked by the characters. “What will we do? There’s no time!” asked the main character. “I dun’ know! You be so screwed!” she belched in anguish, as if the actors in the movie could actually hear her clam-scented reply. Fifteen minutes from the end of the movie – the climax – and the water buffalo was still talking. I’d endured her for nearly two hours, and what was a mild irritation had transformed into a boiling, volcanic rage. I don’t know how my popcorn tasted, and I can’t remember who was sitting near me. As far as what was happening on the screen, it’s a complete blank. My surroundings had become completely blind to me. All I remember is pure, unfiltered hatred. I was Ghenghis Khan. I was genocide. Stars collapsed under the weight of my fury, and when I opened my eyes all I saw was the heads of ten thousand water buffalo on bloody pikes peppering the horizon from Los Angeles to New York City.
So, without further ado, I turned around and spoke.
Again, my memory beyond this point is a bit hazy. I remember screaming more obscenities at her, and I remember a couple sitting behind me telling me that I was now more disruptive than the water buffalo had ever been, and I remember walking down the aisle after the movie had ended and hearing another moviegoer say “Where’s the guy that went psycho?” I also remember the water buffalo quietly shuffling out of the theater afterwards. I think clam chowder and darkness were the sources of her strength, without them she was a meek, fearful creature.
Did I “go psycho?” I think that’s a rather uncreative way of putting it – I like to think of myself as a warrior. Sure, I embarrassed myself and made the situation a lot worse for everyone than it had to be, but in doing so the buffalo was slain. So fuck you, chowderbeast, I’m a champ and you eat seafood from a giant bucket.