How Not To Be An Arsehole #2: Switch Off

Earlier this week I went to the cinema. Usually I go at a weekend as there is a better choice of seat and I can attend a late viewing without worrying about work the next day, but to be economical I decided to go on a discounted weekday evening. Needless to say the place was packed and I was forced to sit next to a group of teenage girls.

The girls chatted and played on their mobile phones throughout the adverts and trailers, which I am absolutely fine with. It is at this point where the audience are permitted to rustle and open various food wrappings, find their seats, discuss the pitiful display of film advertisements and generally wind down before the opening credits.

But these teenage girls did not adhere to the universally respected rules of cinema attendance. They continued to talk and glance at their phones intermittently as well as announcing everything that occurred during the film.

“That man has a key!”

“Ah mate, I hate that bloke. He’s so evil I hope he dies.”

“That evil man is chasing her!”

This was accompanied by frequent, heart-attack-inducing squeals, screams, screeches and yells whenever there was any form of mild threat displayed on the screen. So, as a twenty-something, well-respected member of British society, I did the only thing I could.

I huffed, puffed, sighed and gave annoyed glances in their direction.

My actions worked initially as they began to hush one another, but the girls soon found it amusing to emulate my frustrations. They also sighed and shuffled angrily in their seats up until halfway through the film when I gave up my display of aggravation. This was because I had become comforted in the fact that, if they couldn’t sit silently for a mere ninety minutes, they surely wouldn’t get very far through life. They should be pitied, not despised and slaughtered with a sharpened popcorn tub.

After the film I began to think about our dependency on technology and our seemingly continual need for interaction, light and sound. As a generation we seem to have reverted back to infancy, struggling to cope ten minutes without something shiny to distract us. This includes meal times, live music, face to face conversations and of course, films.

Have we completely lost our ability to relax? Do we no longer know how to switch off and just…be?

I implore everyone to resist the urge to reach for your mobile phone while waiting for something or when you’re bored*. Sit and contemplate the moments that you usually try to dismiss. And what’s wrong with a bit of a silence between two people? It’s only awkward if you make it that way.

Remember: there’s a stark difference between being busy and busying yourself. Perhaps we’d all have a lot more energy to do better things in life if we realised that.

 

* I refuse to believe that the word ‘boredom’ exists in western society.

Emily created Dystopic in July 2012 after requiring an outlet for her love of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. She is currently working on her debut novel ‘These Unnatural Men’ to be published in 2017.

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