A Brush With Jackholery
I almost got into a fight last night, for the first time since junior high school. I’ve been around fights in the decades between–I had to break up a few when I was a bartender and when I was in the fraternity–but I haven’t been a combatant in one since I was in 7th grade. I take pride in that, because it means I’ve gotten a good rein on my temper.
But last night, while Amy and I were at the movies waiting to watch Iron Man 2, I found myself on the edge of feeling like I was going to have to throw down with what seemed to be a roided-out Jersey-shore extra who was apparently pissed off that Amy and I hadn’t read his mind and automatically shifted down a seat when he and his posse rolled in during the 7th trailer.
Here’s the story–Amy and I had been there for nearly half an hour, and the theater was not crowded. The row directly in front of ours was empty, as a matter of fact. This group comes in, makes a ton of noise, but it’s the trailers for a bunch of movies I’m not likely to see anyway, so no big deal. Roid-boy finally sits down and is playing music our of his phone and talking loudly. I glance over, and he then says to me “am I bothering you? Am I doing something that is annoying you?” and so on.
Yeah, I said. You’ve got sound coming out of your phone and you’re talking and the movie’s just starting. What else could I do, really? Amy hadn’t heard any of this, but asked if we should move down a seat, which we did gladly, and as we were moving, Roid-boy says something about us hogging up the theater. I didn’t respond, and we watched the movie without further incident.
But I really felt threatened, and I felt like we were heading toward an altercation which I wanted no part of, but could have been forced into, all because this jackhole didn’t want to just ask if we could move down. We’d have done it and smiled about it–we’re courteous people. But Roid-boy would rather intimidate and push.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad we were able to enjoy the rest of the movie, because the alternative was either to push back or, more likely, miss part of the movie because I’m going to find a manager and get my surly neighbor tossed from the show, and neither makes for a pleasurable viewing experience. But I’m still left feeling bullied, and I don’t like it. It helps me re-understand why you’ll see two (or more) people square off over what seems like nothing, or a trivial insult. I could see the escalation happening as he pushed and pushed, and I felt like my options were either to push back or feel weak, and I didn’t want to feel the latter.
And the worst part of that feeling was knowing that if I pushed back, and it escalated, I couldn’t win. I’d have gotten my ass beaten, and probably spent the night in jail, all over the failure of a jackhole to simply ask if we would move down so he could have some room.
No, the worst part of it is feeling like the jackhole came away from the whole thing self-satisfied, if he thought about it at all. He bullied me, and he won. And that hurts because when I was in junior high school, the last time I was in a fight, I was facing down a bully, and I fought him to a draw. Okay, we both swung and then two teachers grabbed us and we were sent to the principal’s office for paddling. But I felt like I’d done something good there.
On a side note: if you liked Iron Man, you should like Iron Man 2. The fight scenes are fine, but the interplay between characters is where the fun happens. It does what it sets out to do, which is be a summer blockbuster type of movie.
No comments yet.