“Pardon Me, But…….”

 One thing that has been stressed in every writing course I’ve taken is the need to be disciplined in setting aside some amount of time to write every day. I believe that the same holds true for you….the blog  reader.  I think it’s important that you read this stuff more frequently than you have.  To that end, I’ll try to get back to publishing a little more often than I’ve been doing lately.   Unfortunately, to achieve that goal I may need to include some essays that are  rehashes of some older work, one of which follows.    This will serve as the second installment of my trilogy on movie-going  (I’m not sure that there’ll be a third one but I just love the idea of getting so close to writing a trilogy):

     The lights dim and the chatter around me stops as the audience settles in to watch our movie.  And then, I feel it.  A kick on the back of my seat.  My eyes open wide and my body tenses up.  I think, “Was that just a careless kick caused by someone shifting to get more comfortable?”  Moments later, it happens again.  For me, how this occasion is handled is the purest test of mental health.    And I fail miserably…..again.    I look over my shoulder toward the offender expecting him to understand that he’s dealing with a lunatic in front of him.    I spend the next 112 minutes in a state of heightened vigilance.   

    I’ve always admired that person who can simply turn around and without the animus reserved for  Nazis, say something like, “could you please stop kicking the back of my seat?”  It seems simple.  Yet, it is so beyond me, that it’s frightening. 

       I realize that I have a psychological limp and am in need of some kind of crutch.   So, I’m developing a system for this situation and others like it.   To that end, I’ve come up with the idea of creating  a series of cards for just these moments.  With the first kick, I’ll simply turn to the offender and hand him a card that reads, “Pardon me, you probably don’t realize it, but you’re kicking the back of my seat.”   If the violation continues, I will hand out a second card which would be a bit less cordial.  I haven’t worked out how many cards I’ll continue with, but I know that the last one will say:  “YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE ….IF YOU KICK MY SEAT ONE MORE TIME, I’M GOING TO USE THE SMALL BORE GUN I HAVE IN MY POCKET TO PUT A BULLET THROUGH YOUR HEAD!!” Or, something like that.

     Now, I’m not so dense that I don’t know that this is an overreaction.  A response that certainly could have been avoided if I had been held enough when I was an infant.     It’s something that I discuss at length with my therapist.  Bruce understands me.  A kindred spirit, he suffers from the same malady.   He  relates  stories  of  being  at  Bagel Bob’s  waiting to pay and getting frustrated when  some little old lady  holds  up the line while  rummaging through her change purse looking for the  exact coins to pay for her bagel.  His instinct is to wish horrors on her, but due to his many, many years of being in analysis, he realizes that he’s a little nuts and smiles to himself.   I point out that if he had really gotten “better”, he might not want to kill the old lady in the first place.  His face drops and I can see that  he doesn’t think that’s  possible; that we’re both too far gone and  the best I can hope for is to get  to  a  place  where I can see that my responses are out of whack and not  proportional.   I tell Bruce about my idea for the deck of warning cards.  He doesn’t think much of it.     He’d much rather talk about me and my mother.  He’s relentless in that way.  I’m thinking of adding some cards to hand to him, “Pardon me, you probably don’t realize it, but…… WE’RE GETTING NOWHERE!!”   

      As you might well expect, there are daily challenges in being me.   I live in Park Slope in Brooklyn which used to be famous for having the largest number of Victorian brownstones in the country.  But now, it is more well-known for being the baby stroller capital of the free world.  It’s as if, whenever a baby is conceived in the Northeast, the next day its parents are figuring out how to move to my neighborhood.   Navigating the streets and shops in the area has put a tremendous strain on me.  And that strain is nowhere greater than when I go to my local Starbucks. When I stopped in there the other day, I found myself amid a sea of strollers.  Not the kind that are small and fold up like the ones I used when my kids were little, but monster Farm-All Tractor-like strollers that could double as all-terrain vehicles.  I quickly conclude that there could never be enough “Pardon me” cards for this situation.   I can’t get anywhere near the barista and wind up shouting my order halfway across the store.  Carefully, I weave my way to the pick-up area, feeling lucky that I’ve bloodied only one of my shins.  Before I leave, I look around– lovely young women, beatific children.    And I’m thinking not-so-nice things.  I make a mental note to double up on my sessions with Bruce.

I see the   “Pardon me” cards as a possible salvation.  Of course, there are practical considerations to overcome.  I’m hard-pressed to see how to pass out even the initial, “Pardon me, you probably don’t realize it, but you just cut me off and I narrowly missed crashing into you” card at sixty miles per hour.  Also, there’s the problem with the recipient being able to read them in a darkened area, like a movie theater.  But, I think I have that one figured out.  I’ll be passing out infra-red goggles to anyone seated near me before the movie starts.  That way, when the violator receives the “Pardon me, you probably don’t realize it, but your breathing is really annoying” card, he or she can put on the infra-reds, and be able to see both the card, and exactly who they’re dealing with.



4 Responses to ““Pardon Me, But…….””

  1. Zachary Mexico Says:

    Once I knew a girl who carried a stack of cards in her pocket that read, in attractive capital letters, STOP TALKING.

    She used them a lot. As I can occasionally be afflicted with the disease of talkin-too-much, I received “the message” on two separate occasions.

    Perhaps you could make a card that says PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHER PEOPLE, or something like that. It would certainly be more cost-effective than printing a bunch of cards that say different things.

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    Pardon me……but if everyone was so considerate, I’d have almost nothing to write about.

  3. David Says:

    So I’ll admit to being behind on reading your blog posts (is that the right term?)….and lo and behold, I see that you have become a grandfather. Mazel Tov!! (even those of us in DC remember a few appropriate hebrew or yiddish terms to use). And he looks just like you…in the face, I mean. Give me a call sometime soon.

  4. Scooter Pile « Ironicman's Blog Says:

    […] to my movie trilogy (https://ironicman.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/is-this-seat-taken/ and  https://ironicman.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/pardon-me-but/…) except this time the trilogy would have  three parts , possibly four.   But, […]

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