Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Potato of Injustice Wears a Green Dress

I’m an extrovert who hates people. This has set me up for a lifetime of disappointment.

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.

31 comments:

HP said...

This is neither here nor there, but I really hate it when people are late for the movies. As far as I am concerned, once the lights go down it is time to shut up, stare at the screen and not get up and walk around. People who wander in late and disrupt my preview watching experience by demanding that people shuffle seats to accomodate them really get my goat.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

People should just be shot with a marshmallow gun.

Shannon said...

HP, I consider that related. We all know how much I enjoy rudeness at the movies! I don't know whether I'm old and cranky, or manners have taken a nosedive, but I can't go see a movie anymore without wanting to smack people.

Shannon said...

Zipcode - nah, they'd just eat teh marshmallows. But maybe they can be corrected with squirtguns...like disobedient cats.

Dave B. said...

Your post titles make perfect sense.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

not if you soak the marshmallows in hot sauce before hand

Shannon said...

Dave - that isn't something one should admit in a public forum. Lumps you in with the wackos like me.

Zipcode - the bigger problem is that I would want to eat the marshmallows.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

really with hot sauce? ok how about a rubberband gun?

Dave B. said...

I never said I wasn't a wacko.

Remember Shannon, insanity is just a state of mind.

charlotteharris said...

I have an opposite story of bad manners on flat surfaces. At a concert at Wolf Trap, my sis and I had lawn tickets. It was the kind of music you get up and dance to. So we did. And people behind us pelted us with ice cubes. IMO they were the ones with bad manners. They said their mom had a bad leg and couldn't stand. If they needed or wanted to sit, they should have paid for a set and not risked the unpredctable nature of the lawn.

Shannon said...

Zip - I occasionally have Slim Jims with mustard for breakfast. Spicy marshmallows is just the next logical step.

Dave - No wonder you're doing so well around here, I've taken to referring to my comments thread as "Cheers for Weirdos."

Shannon said...

Charlotte - I'm with you on dancing at concerts. But the only time you should be on your feet during SOTG is the HBO Dance.

And ice cubes? Why didn't I think of that?

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

Thanks now the phrase "Step into a Slim Jim" is in my head -- what do those taste like anyway?

Justin said...

I wouldn't worry so much about these things. Some people work strange hours and can't always make it on time, no matter how hard they try. These people aren't out to ruin your good time on purpose, they're just a little stupid :) Blackberry Warehouse guy a little more so for being pretentious, but why let these things worry you?

I wish I had known more about this before I just Googled it. I've been on a Bond kick lately (including the books), and would really like to have seen Dr. No again. Maybe this is the cheap date idea I've been looking for lately. What's the audience policy on makeouts? I can keep it strictly horizontal, if that helps :)

Dave B. said...

Shannon, you should change the word "comments" to "cheers from weirdos" then. :P

brandonsavage said...

I'd tell you about bad manners on flat surfaces but you probably would revoke my commenting privileges. ;-)

But really now. People need to get better manners. Like this morning, at Foggy bottom, when one escalator was out of service, one was running in the up direction, and one was just stairs...and people were climbing UP both! What the hell is wrong with you Washingtonians?

Rudeness seems to extend oh, just about everyplace.

/rant

Shannon said...

Zipcode - like soft, pillowy beef jerky.

Justin, I'm not sitting there seething through the entire evening, just sort of noticing things that seem off or strange and filing them away for a day I can't think of a better blog post. But I have no sympathy for the latecomers - if you can't be on time, don't show up. As for the makeout policy, just make sure I'm nowhere nearby as I would TOTALLY post about that. And no smacking or slurping noises....eeeeeeeew.

Dave, that's more tech ability than I could ever hope to muster.

Brandon, I don't consider DC any more rude than any other city I've lived in. I've just noticed people get a little punchier in the summer. Heat? Humidity? Wading through tourons? No clue.

Ibid said...

Wish I'd known you were there. I missed the 3rd film due to being in Kansas, but I'll be there for the next couple.

You can find me near the front, right in the middle, with a parrot on my shoulder.

brandonsavage said...

"people get a little punchier in the summer."

See! That's what I told the cop after I decked the guy on the escalator. But once they get the cuffs on ya, really, time for explanation is over... (j/k)

Justin said...

Shannon,

C'mon. I did a trivia night that started at 8pm for awhile. I'd sneak out of here a few minutes before 7pm, but it was very nip and tuck sometimes, especially given Adams Morgan parking (I only drove in an attempt to make it on time, otherwise I'd have bussed it). So I've spent all this time driving around (/ stuck in traffic), looking for a spot, and suddenly, it's 8:05. Should I just give up, waste all the time and effort I've already spent, and just abort my plans? Should I just give up on trivia altogether?

Not everything can be so black and white...

Isn't SotG casual? I could understand people not wanting to interrupt a ballet performance, but...

Also: I am a very good maker-outer, but I can't promise which sounds may or may not happen.

Shannon said...

Ibid, I'm sure I'll notice the parrot!

Brandon, just designate a friend as the one with the bail money before you leave the house. That's what I do.

Justin...if your showing up late to a seated event (like a play, movie, etc) is going to mess up other people's good time, then you need to plan ahead and get there on time. We all run late from occasionally, but c'mon. If everyone else can get there on time, what makes you so special?

As for Screen on the Green, it's one thing to be a little late, dart across the field, find your spot and sit the hell down. It's quite another to dawdle your way across the field, languidly greet your group, and have everyone stand up in a big clump and for introductions, greetings and hugs so people miss entire scenes of the film.

It's a matter of being aware of your surroundings - if you stand at SotG, you are blocking the view for literally hundreds of people. And I don't care who you are, you don't matter more than the hundreds who got their act together and showed up on time.

Punctuality is a big thing with me - it's about respect for others.

LivitLuvit said...

That is the best first two sentences, EVER. In a nutshell. (Insert requisite, "No, this is a sentence in a nutshell! Help, I'm in a nutshell!"

But for realsies... Luvit.

LivitLuvit said...

*Those are, even. Hi, grammar, nice to meet you.

Shannon said...

Aw, thanks. I wonder if "misanthropic extrovert" is its own personality category.

LivitLuvit said...

Fo shiz. I never felt like I fit into any of those Myers-Briggs boxes anyway. We should let them know they're missing a big one...

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