Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Excuse Me, Sir, Could You Please Take Your Hand Off My Armrest?
By an annoyed-but-timid movie-goer
Sir, excuse me – sir, can you hear me? Would you mind if, well – you see, the way these theater seats are designed, there’s really only one arm-rest per person, and well, -- yes, I know that you paid nine dollars of your hard-earned money to buy a ticket to see this movie too, and yes, I know that it’s not completely comfortable to have to sit with one hand in your lap, but sir, I must point out: this is America, and you have no right to trespass onto my armrest. Sir, there’s a time-honored system here that your very humanity compels you to respect. You see, it starts with the person on the aisle – and in this case, since we’re on the left section, he gets the armrest to his right. Then the person to his left gets the armrest to his right, and so on and so forth, until the person at the very left. Although he could have very easily have two armrest, the powers that be saw how supremely unfair this would be, and to avoid shaking the universe off kilter, they made that last arm-rest into a bath of concentrated sulfuric acid – which makes surprisingly good hot-dog dipping sauce. No, no, don’t take it the wrong way – in fact, I’ll even let you store your two-gallon tub of Pepsi on my ledge – I can keep mine on the floor, and, well, that’s fine with me – but you have to understand – if you’d wanted to rest both arms up, you could’ve gone to the OpulentPlex downtown, where for fifteen dollars a ticket, not only could you have been guaranteed two armrest, but also twice as much armrest square-footage, as well as slide-out ottomans, headrests, closed caption devices, and personal ninjas-for-hire to slay those who defy the “no smoking” policy or those annoying third-graders who say each line to themselves, and discuss the super-secret plot twist right in front of you. But that’s fifteen dollars – and, frankly sir, if you’re not willing to pay that, you’ve got to understand and acknowledge some basic ground rules: this armrest, and nothing else, is what keeps our seats separate, and that must remain inviolate. This is not a loveseat – I neither want nor desire your arms, legs, or any other part of your body in my personal space. Do you see my ticket – this doesn’t just give me the right to see this movie, but it’s a lease, it’s a contract that gives me the right to be the absolute tyrant over Theater 6, Seat J-17 for the duration of one movie (although, the management does reserve the right to break the contract by refunding my money, but let’s not muddy the waters here). I do not want you this close. Yes, this is New Jersey, but it’s not the Governor’s Mansion. Sir, please calm down. I’m not pulling the world out from under you, I’m just educating you. You’re not guilty of any crime here – you’re just ignorant. But now you know better, so if you wouldn’t mind vacating the armrest that’s rightfully mine at … no, sir, please stop that! Ouch! Security! Help! Sir, stop biting me! I knew I should have gone to the theater with the ninjas.

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