Do you mind if I sit there?

The cinema is one of my favourite activities, watching new releases, eager to see what the world has come up with this time, to watch them on a grand scale with surround sound blasting out from mega speakers, the smell of popcorn and sour sweets. The cinema is romantic, used for first dates and through relationships, offering couples an alternative to couch potato-ing  and speech for approximately 120 minutes. The classic glamour of luxurious red velvet seats and tall curtains draping to the floor, that become epic in their unveiling of the big screen. Cinema go-ers are all united in watching the film, it is like a front sitting room only maximised and shared with a bunch of random guests. My recent trip to the cinema has brought to light some potential problems that surround enjoying a film with many strangers.

After the obligatory popcorn buy, then comes the long walk up the narrow corridor to the screens, Its all quite epic, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Walking into the designated screen you are faced with the mountain of stairs from which everyone looks down from, as their attention isn’t fixed to the screen yet their eyes are drawn to the new guest in the room. ‘um hi’ I mutter because it feels like everyone is staring at me, it dawns on me that we are all here to watch the same film, well what if we all hate it? What if someone decides to get up and leave, that would be awkward. What if the stranger sat next to me doesn’t find dramatic, over-exaggerated scenes funny? Will we all be OK  if I rustled my paper popcorn bag, or whispered the plot to my co-cinema go-er? Do you mind if I sit there?

I watch others enter, watching intently as  those sat before me did, the seats start to fill, empty seats are becoming few and far between, the seat to my right is free , I watch a man as he squeezes past, his eyes locked on the target next to me. He sits. Too much aftershave on and smelling like a fragrance store I became a little uneasy. His arm has claimed occupancy of the armrest, where do I put mine? I thought, there is an unwritten rule, I’m sure it exists, that you half share the arm or no-one gets it, in fear of being too rude or possessive. He hadn’t read the unwritten manual.  Nothing I could do apart from fidget, and sigh with my disapproving stare.

At the final moment when the lights were beginning to dull, conversation falls into a silent whisper as the sound starts from the surrounded speakers all voices are drowned and attention is fixed to that big screen in front of us. Together we are watching, all cosy in our large, very large, maximised front room. I’m sat, comfortably, my choice in seating has paid off and I have a good view of the screen, the film starts. A late comer shyly emerges and heads straight for the seat in-front of me, its fine I know it won’t jeopardize my viewing experience, unfortunately this young lady decided to create a sculpture out of her hair, towering in-front of me, creating a crazy silhouette, thanks no really thank you, there is a time and a place for fancy hair, and here ain’t that place. I left the cinema with a crick in my neck and a tired right arm.

The cinema, so romantic with it’s red velvet, warming smells and anticipating costumers. Unfortunately it doesn’t all go so romantically and those sharing the film with you will attempt to disrupt the order, sabotage your view and arm space ,taking the romance vastly away. Do you have any tales from the cinema? Have you sat too close to a noisy popcorn chewer or been unfortunately the late comer, or seen some inappropriate hairstyles, not made for the cinema?

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