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The Curmudgeon Replies


Hey Zeitgeisters,

Carla replied to the last post “What Noise Annoys A Curmudgeon” thusly:

You speak the truth, Mr Trivia. But I’d wager neither you or anyone else stood up and walked on over to those slobs and told them what was what.You’re a member of a passive-aggressive cult to the Individual.

Carla has met me and props to her on her analysis, but she is missing one part of my case history.

About seven years ago, I started to find that whenever people talked near me in the cinema during a movie I would be moved to shoosh them. And if they were teenage guys I could be quite aggro about it; figuring that a disproportionate amount of vehemence would discourage any further attempts at talking.

One day I was sitting in the cinema with my then-partner and three guys behind us were adding comments to all the dialogue and stopping me from enjoying the film, so I turned around and said, “I paid to see this, so you keep your mouths shut.” If you know me, this is out of character. My partner said it was a bit over the top – not the language necessarily, but the tone.

Later, while watching Sin City with a large of group of friends at the Millenium in Fremantle, I did the same kind of thing. When the kid asked if I was talking to him, I abused him by uttering the witty phrase, “Yeah I mean you, d__khead, shut the f__k up.” Once again out of character, but maybe not – a pattern was developing. In this case my friends said I was mouthing off because there were so many of us. I think they had a point.

And yet, I had another go at getting my head punched in when I was in the cinema with my brother and this occasion was particularly stupid because the three or four teenagers I assumed I was speaking to, turned out to be quite a few more. When I leant over to look at how many people I was having a go at, I suddenly felt scared.

There is no way I am up to fighting anyone, and it was after the last incident that I reasoned that it was more intelligent for me to sit away from chatty, smart-arsed youngsters – even when I was one, I didn’t have any Jet Li moves that I could whip out to defend myself.

I have tried the reasonable tone with some success when getting my neighbours to turn down their stereo at 2am, but I think the fear I feel at asking strangers to behave reasonably is only partly the fear of asserting what I want and getting a negative response.

I also fear that I will mouth off with absolutely no thought of the consequences.

I remember an even earlier example of this, when I was 12 my father had to step in and stop me getting my arse kicked in the Mount Hawthorn Public Library. These guys from Tuart Hill kept asking me if I knew who “Hedzik’ was. “I was in the middle of telling them I had never heard of Hedzik when Dad hustled me out of there. He said that I was going to get into a fight with guys and I insisted I wasn’t.

On reflection , I believe we were both right. Dad was correct that there would have been a fight if he hadn’t intervened. (It would have lasted seconds and I would have ended up on the carpet in front of the Gollancz large print books.)

I was correct in my own way, because I had absolutely no intention of fighting anyone. I was giving out plenty of aggro energy, but had not even the sketchiest physical move in mind. I wouldn’t have even ducked.

So, Carla’s passive-aggressive call is on the money, but I think I’ll stay seated, thanks. I don’t think I’m smart and balanced enough to keep the lines of communication clear – yet.

Or as they saying goes, “Don’t let your mouth write checks that your ass can’t cash.”

Elevate the insignificant,

Mr Trivia

5 thoughts on “The Curmudgeon Replies

  1. I had a simular experience recently watching Nightmare Before Christmas in 3d. Some group of teens were talking to each other and they gradually started talking louder and louder and louder. Now I can usually put up with a lot but the situation was escalating, these 3d movies are expensive and I really like this film. So I did it, I turned to them and said my mind and they shutup. I felt really good about it for a few seconds, then I remembered the dorky 3d glasses I was wearing.

  2. I’ve never been to a 3D film, every time I”ve had the opportunity it’s always been to a film that I probably wouldn’t see if it wasn’t 3d therefore I stay home.

    The Nightmare Before Christmas would be great, of course, I didn’t realise there WAS a #D version of it, Tim.

  3. Monster House was pretty good in 3d and was also a great film. Kinda like the Goonies, had some great characters and dialouge. They also didnt pussy out on the scary stuff.

    But yeah I’m a total sucker for films with 3d glasses.

  4. Hey, i get a blog entry – yey!

    I have to point out that i wouldn’t have gone over there either. Indeed, if people always jumped up and insulted the people who offend our sensibilities, i don’t think society would function.

    I cannot suggest an alternative to just sitting in the cinema brooding or grinding your teeth and staring angrily into chai masala at the cafe. It isn’t glamourous – but it beats a glorious head-kicking any day.

  5. Human beings – we heave back and forth between not being able to stand each other to not being able to live without each other.

    Lovely to hear from you again, Carla, you discussion provoker, you.

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