Wednesday, August 15, 2007

About Forgiving the Failings of Others...

Man, I am bad at it. Just last week, I blogged about how I'd be more forgiving of the mistakes and irritating behavior of others. So the Universe saw fit to present me with a few moments of glaring stupidity, just to test me.

Screen on the Green was the venue for this test. Screen on the Green, for my non-DC readers, is a lovely summer event in which you bring a blanket and snacks, and watch old movies on a big screen on the Mall. This event leaves me conflicted, as my hatred of crowds comes right up against my love of free stuff. So I got there early, claimed some blanket turf, and prepared for a lovely evening with 10,000 of my closest friends.

First up, we had the folks that bring lawn chairs. Lawn Chair People, the Mall is a flat surface. Your lawn chair blocks the view of everyone behind you, as the curvature of the Earth is an insufficient substitute for arena seating. Therefore, you can sit on the ground like everyone else. But, see, I'm on this forgiveness kick, so I thought I'd rationalize your behavior. Here's the best I could come up with:

The Lawn Chair People all have 24 karat gold backsides. See, it was the go-go 90s, and tech stocks were booming. The economy was on fire, and these people chose to celebrate their success by gilding their bottoms. However, gold is heavy. It's also highly malleable. So these folks need their lawn chairs to shape and cushion their expensive (and expansive) posteriors. Far be it from me to withdraw my compassion from people who spent their money so foolishly. Heck, just last week I committed a drunken math error and triple-tipped a bartender. So I can forgive the Gilded Backside People.

Next, we had the Narrators. There was this couple seated behind me, and the dude spent the entire movie explaining every plot point, line of dialogue, and character. Mind you, this was Casablanca, which is not the most complex film ever made. In fact, it's actually very obvious and slightly clunky. It does not require narrative assistance. Nor is it a film which deserves an MST3K treatment (especially by people who have no sense of humor).

However, this is the newer, kinder me. So I think the girl lost her short-term memory in a freak flatiron accident. She'd been trying to get her chemically assisted blonde hair perfectly straight, and instead fried her frontal lobe. Her boyfriend was merely assisting her re-entry to everyday life. However, I cannot explain why her boyfriend spent the first 10 minutes speaking to her from a standing position, waving his posterior in my face.

Last up, we had the Endless Introduction People. The movie starts, and a few latecomers decide to slip in and meet up with their friends on the blanket in front of us. Now, I simply do not understand people who are late. I'm obsessively punctual (of course, I'm obsessive about lots of things). If you show up late for a movie, indoors or out, you find an open spot and sit down as quickly as possible. These people, however, waded out to their group, and the entire blanket of ten people stands up to commence introductions. These introductions sail on as many members of the crowd shout at them to just sit down already. Finally, they do, with sheepish "who, me?" grins.

So how do I rationalize the Endless Introduction People? Simple. They're all schizophrenics, prone to extended visual hallucinations. They did not know they were at a film. Instead, every last one of them was participating in a shared psychotic episode, in which they were at a lovely garden party in the antebellum South. In reality, they were all out on a day pass from Sibley's mental ward. But as their manners and social development are key to recovery, we can forgive it.

So, people aren't rude. They just have golden backsides, a lack of short-term memory, or suffer from schizophrenic delusions.

Or maybe I should go back to hating people. Yeah, that might be a lot easier.

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