Seen and Not Heard…

My cinema experiences are usually positive.

Never have I had to turn around to the person behind me to scold her for making too much noise, or tapped the man in front on the shoulder to stay his squirming.

Colleagues of mine have told of out and out fights and hasty exits when polite confrontations got out of hand.  For me, never a problem,

Until recently.

First in England.

Hubs and I encountered loud conversations at the cinema when we began frequenting afternoon discount showings at the Odeon in Beckenham.

Every ticket is an assigned seat so we are clumped in a gaggle at the centre of the auditorium and kept watch over by diligent ushers who spot check our stubs if one of us is seen to be sitting away from the horde.

Women are the main attendees of these afternoon showings and as is their wont,

Where there are Women there is Talk.

They nattered through the commercials... which in England are brilliantly witty, short films requiring wrapt attention… their peals of laughter, high pitched squeals of appreciation and loud bursts of gossip were totally unrelated to what was playing on the screen and ruined the punch-line irritating the American streak of consideration flowing in our veins.

They passed round sweets and chocolate, sipped hot beverages and took ice cream orders during the trailers distracting us from the important task of vetting upcoming potential afternoons at the flicks.

Grace descended as the opening credits of the main feature rolled and the curtains opened fully to reveal the full sized screen.

We settled…

frazzled by the preceding half hour of boisterous preparation,

…into the hushed awe of a Captive Audience.

Each new experience, however, brought with it the trepidation that perhaps this group would forget why it was here and continue with its afternoon antics over cups of tea and bowls of ice cream,


We were apprehensive but mercifully, without fail, quiet fell with the dark.

Then in America:

We have re-discovered the joy of going to the movies, a side effect of empty nest!

Unhappily we found ourselves besieged by intrusive noise again.

Two women on their cells talked loudly about phone bills, speeding tickets and relationships.

They hung up only to continue their loud conversation with each other engaging the whole auditorium in their loves and tribulations.

Hubs balled his fists ready for a fight.

I groaned and suggested,

“Write about it…” and gathered myself for flight.

The opening credits rolled and silence dropped like a blanket.

Perhaps these vociferous people in public places imagine their conversations to be captivating fodder for those in earshot.

But we did not pay to be their Captive Audience

For a couple of hours our souls belonged to the Silver Screen.

Let’s leave it like that!

Be seen and not heard as my parents would say.

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