Let me preface this post by saying that I do not hate old people. I live at a retirement community where my wife and I are the night managers and take care of anything that is necessary from 5pm to 9am. We love our old people, even when they are totally ridiculous or difficult. I call them my old people as a term of endearment. When we lose one it is heartbreaking. Now, understanding how much we care for seniors I will now tell you how much it sucks being stuck in a theater with them. Seriously.
Today my wife and I went to The Hangover at a second run theater. We go there almost every week on Tuesday because there is $1 popcorn and that’s awesome. What isn’t awesome is the groups of octogenarians that decided that The Hangover sounded like a delightful film for them to hang out and chat in. The Hangover? Seriously!? Did they not see a trailer or read a synopsis in the newspaper? I’m pretty sure they still put those in there don’t they? Anyway, let me break down this experience for you.
We arrived at the theater about 30 minutes early because we’re neurotic like that and like to get the best seats. Just as the trailers start a group of four seniors make their way into the theater and sit in the back row, a couple of rows behind us, but off to the side. Thankfully most old people seem to sit near the ends of the rows. Probably so they have less to stumble over during the inevitable bathroom breaks midway through the film. At least those were my thoughts at the time. Apparently these old folks had bladders of steel, bionic mouths and suffered from myopia. Their seats in the back row weren’t good enough. They decided to sit right behind us instead.
A couple of months ago we would have ignored this as it was still during the trailers. Now we no longer give them the benefit of the doubt. We move almost immediately a couple of rows closer to the screen and to the opposite side of center from the old folks. As the movie progresses our change in location was quickly proved to be a smashing idea. The grumpy bastards never shut up. Thankfully we were far enough away that it didn’t bother me too much. Crisis averted. Or was it???
One would think that 20 minutes into the film and having moved away from the obnoxious old chatterboxes that things would be smooth sailing from there. One would be wrong. Twenty minutes into the film another old couple stumbles in loudly and sits at the end of our row. I let out a sigh of relieve as they should be far enough away that they shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Everything was great for about 10 minutes. They didn’t seem inclined to be that chatty type and I sipped my soda and laughed my ass off at the movie. Then the old man started to snore…loudly.
I’ve never wanted to bludgeon someone to death with a 54 ounce soda cup before, but I started to seriously consider it at that point. Anyone who’s seen Firefly knows there is a special Hell reserved for people who talk in the theater. I’m pretty sure that snoring is on par with talking in the eyes of Shepherd Book’s God. As I’m hefting my soda cup the old lady wakes him up and I feel the urge to kill slowly drain away. He dozes off a couple more times throughout the film, but his wife is on top of it for the most part. The movie draws to a close and I manage to make it through without a criminal record.
Now, I could understand having an experience similar to this one where the annoying patrons are teenagers. That’s something I expect at a crude comedy. I may not like it, but it’s expected at this type of movie. Much like screaming children are expected at an animated film.
The sad thing is that now my wife and I have come to expect this complete lack of etiquette from seniors in movie theaters. I don’t even bother to give them the benefit of the doubt any more. Whenever I see a gray/blue head of hair pop into the theater I cringe and start scouting for alternate seats to move to. It happens at every movie we go to at this theater because it’s cheap and the old people love them a cheap movie ticket, but even at other theaters it’s routinely the seniors that ruin the experience.
Am I overreacting? Are we alone here? Please, if you have had a similar experience tell me about it in the comments. I need to know I’m not the only one that’s thought about strangling a senior citizen with a knotted together string of Twizzlers.