Cell Phone Etiquette at the Movies

I like going to the movies.

If I could afford to go whenever I wanted, and had a wide selection of blockbusters, indies and foreign films, I’d probably go every week. At least once. Maybe twice. Even thrice.

So recently, when I heard about this incident about a woman calling a theater chain and leaving a lengthy, profanity-laced rant about how wronged she was at a theater for talking on her cell phone, I had a good long thought on the subject.

First off, no one can be utterly silent in a movie theater. There are coughs, laughs, rustling of candy wrappers, and minor talking between people, hopefully about the movie. That kind of thing is to be expected, like people squeezing by you to get to their seats. These kind of things are to be expected.

But to continuously talk or text with someone while in the movie theater, watching the movie, is rude.

People who do these things while others are trying to watch the movie are either so self-absorbed in their life that they don’t think how their actions are being disruptive, or they’re just stupid.

Now before that ranty lady gets on my case about a person’s rights and freedoms, I’m not telling them to stop using their cell phones. But just leave the theater if whatever they are being contacted about is so very important that it can’t wait an hour or two.

Personal rights and freedoms are grand! I exploit my rights and freedoms every chance I get by flappin’ my gums about anything and everything, via thoughtful, intellectual conversation, or through wit and sarcasm.

But there’s something else we should be reminded of. Politeness. Civility. Respect.

When at the movies, you are generally surrounded by other people, who, like you, paid money to see that movie. Don’t they deserve the right to enjoy that movie with minimal disruption?

If you want to play with your phone, text people and such, do it before or after the movie. Or better yet, don’t go to the movies, cause apparently, your life is pretty damn cool and important if you can’t be out of touch with your peeps for a couple of hours.

As for that ranty lady, I think she was probably embarrassed by the incident at the theater and felt like venting on the complaint-line of the theater chain. Or, she so was filled with self-importance that any revelation that she isn’t the center of the universe sends her into a tizzy.

I try to follow the “do-onto-others-as-you-would-like-done-to-you” thing.  That’s why I try to get in all my playing around with my cell phone in before the movie starts. When the lights go down and the screen lights up, my cell phone is off. And unless your on-call, your cell should be off too.


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