People, Popcorn and Politeness
I went to the cinema recently to see the new Halloween movie. It was good, but what stuck in my mind the most as I left the cinema was not the film itself, it was the other movie goers.
We've all had negative experiences at the cinema, and it’s generally not due to the movie being terrible. It's because of other people.
Whether they're talking, crunching on popcorn, rustling a bag or using their phone they have an impact on the experience of everyone else around them.
I'm not going to go as far as to say that they are terrible people... but I guess they just don't care about others. Maybe there’s a general selfishness or a lack of empathy at play. Or maybe they're just not easily annoyed. Lip smacking and cellular light pollution somehow doesn't bother them so they can't understand how it might bother others.
What ever the reason for their behavior, it's pretty off putting. For me it's off putting enough that I'd just rather not go to the cinema to see a movie. I'm happy to wait a few months to catch it via some online streaming service.
There is a daily practice known simply as 'Gratitude' in which practitioners sit down at some point during the day to write down what they are grateful for. The idea is to overtly recognize all of the positive things in your life. Things that perhaps you take for granted. Maybe you're grateful for the roof over your head, access to food, the hot shower you take every morning, your family, your friends etc...
Writing these things down brings them from your subconscious to your consciousness. It’s meant to reduce anxiety and depression, especially for people that have a tendency to focus on all that is wrong with the world.
I suck at gratitude. I've tried it and I really struggle to do it consistently. I find myself just writing the same things every day, which I guess isn't such a bad thing, but it ends up feeling tedious.
But in the spirit of gratitude, and a similar notion I recently wrote about in this post (The shit that stings) I've been trying harder to appreciate the little things.
That's what I did in the cinema after Halloween. I took a moment to appreciate the fact that the audience was composed of conscientious popcorn consumers that showed up on time, didn't feel that the cinema was the best place to have a conversation and for two hours managed to resist the urge to check what some random stranger was up to on Instagram.
And it felt pretty good.