I spend a lot of time in public places: the Metro, the street, retail establishments, assorted gutters and holding cells. And every Monday, I’m at that public festival of commonality, Screen on the Green. It’s fun to have a blanket, a picnic, some friends, a cartoon, the HBO dance, and an old movie on the Mall. And it’s free, which warms my cheapskate secretarial heart.
But some of y’all ruin the fun for everyone else. Most importantly, you ruin the fun for me.
Usually, it’s because you don’t understand the unique nature of flat surfaces. If you do anything of a vertical nature at Screen on the Green, you’re blocking other people’s view. I’m looking at you, the man who brought a bicycle as his date and left it standing up for the entire movie. And how about you, the group of old ladies in high lawn chairs right smack in the middle of the crowd? What’s your story?
I also like the people who make it obvious they came Straight from the Office! Honey, you don’t need to leave on the suit and tie. It’s 95 degrees out here. Take off the jacket, roll up the sleeves, ditch the tie. You just want us all to know that you came straight from your highly important job, which requires the best clothes Mens Wearhouse has to offer and a Blackberry in a holster.
Even better are the people who show up late. If you cannot get off work in time for a 9:00 film, clearly you have bigger issues than I can resolve here. Screw issues. You’ve got a subscription.
But if you’re late, discreetly make your way into the crowd and sit down. Don’t get your entire group to stand up and hug you, one by harebrained one. Just sit.
Even better than the latecomers are those who stand up so the latecomers can spot them in the crowd. And that’s what brings us to the Lady in the Green Dress. Her entire group showed up late. First off, she needs better friends. Second, she spent the first 20 minutes of the film standing up, flagging down her friends one by one in the dark and standing until they had all arrived to the safety of her blanket.
Sometimes, you have to look the potato of injustice right in the eye. And the only way to deal with injustice is mob justice. As in, asking my friends to help shout, “SIDDDOWNNNN!” at her. And watching as the glorious message of SIDDDDOWWWWWNN! carried from blanket to blanket, group to group, until it hit her with the force of a well-mannered tidal wave. The tower of her rudeness stood firm, we started another wave, and, eventually, she did sit down. Or maybe all her friends finally showed up.
Either way, I enjoyed the sweetness of victory. I was free to spend the next two hours engrossed in the hotness of Cary Grant, the casual sexism of the 1940s, and a wild desire to wear suits with hats and gloves.
In the comments, call me a hopeless fussbudget busybody, tell me my post titles really ought to make more sense, or tell me stories about bad manners on flat surfaces. Bonus points if you can tell me what movie uses the line “potato of injustice” without Googling it.