So I went to the movies yesterday with my husband. Twelve months to the day since we last went to the movies. Young children, don’t get out much. Come summer holidays, a kid-free date often presents thanks to the kindness of our parents.
We arrived at the cinema, on time, not late. One of many small cinemas in a recently developed complex, only the occasional seat was free. Back when I was a single girl and the Christmas/New Year break often found me at the movies toute seule, this was never a problem. But being on my one date with my husband probably, let’s face it for another year, I was hoping we could sit together.
We noticed two women with a spare seat either side so I shuffled down the row to ask them if they would mind moving along a seat so we could have two seats together.
‘Well it’s a bit inconvenient,’ said one of the women grumpily with a roll of her eyes.
Completely mortified, I quickly shuffled backwards out of the row.
‘Sorry, don’t worry about it, sorry for asking, sorry, sorry, sorry.’
How embarrassing! And unreasonable. I would have move along if she’d asked me. I didn’t think it was much to ask. Is it? And how inconvenient would it be to move along one seat? The cinema was full. No-one gets the luxury of a spare seat either side. But it’s been some time since I was at the movies so maybe I have no idea.
As I made my hasty retreat, a lovely couple stopped me to say that the women were actually moving to make room for us.
‘If you don’t sit there, she’ll probably complain about the fact she moved and you didn’t take the seat,’ said one half of the lovely couple, my allies and new best friends.
And she was right; the woman who didn’t want to be inconvenienced would feel inconvenienced no matter what. Unless she had no feet. That really would have been inconvenient.
But she didn’t say, ‘Sorry do you mind if I don’t move along because I have no feet.’ She was just a bit rude. Because she couldn’t be bothered to move along.
So feeling the support of surrounding cinema goers, we sheepishly took our place.
To me, it’s an easy choice to make. To move along. Be generous. Let time-poor parents share a moment together. Or force them to sit apart for absolutely no reason. Unless of course she actually had no feet and then it would be me who was being unreasonable.
Hopefully after yesterday, her New Year’s resolution is to try and be more generous to desperate strangers in need.
On the other hand, mine - judging from my lack of cinema protocol - is to toughen up, stand my ground and get to the movies again before the passing of another 12 months.