Saturday, May 6, 2017

Kevin's Cinema Chronicles #1 - "Excuse Me"

So Shaundra and I went to the movies tonight to check out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (great movie, by the way--lots of fun, and heavy on the feels) at our current favorite movie theater, the Santikos Palladium ATX West Houston. Had a great time for the most part, but something happened that really pissed me off before the show started, and it's an ongoing thing that's bothered me since at least 2000 (I remember the year because there was a very specific instance that occurred when we went to another movie based on a Marvel property, X-Men). It's folks who don't know the meaning of the words "excuse me."

Now, to me, "excuse me" is a very simple phrase, taught to me by my mother, who instilled basic manners in my brothers and I. We've all heard it at some point in our lives, so ignorance of the words is unacceptable. It costs nothing to say, and doesn't diminish you in any way when you use it. In fact, it's great sign that you were raised with at least smidgen of decency and not by a pack of hyenas. Why, then, are there so many asshats out there that seem to not be aware of the concept?

Here's the deal: we were sitting in our seats, waiting for the show to start. One of the things we love about this theater is that you reserve your seats ahead of time--so you know if there's going to be people sitting next to you or not. According to the layout of the theater online, we were going to have some people sitting right next to us on our right. A group of four friends came in and sat to our right, but there was a spot left between us and them. Maybe they read their seats wrong and skipped a seat, I thought, or maybe they didn't want to sit next to Black people (we've had it happen where it seemed folks left a buffer on each side of us on multiple occasions--I call it our "Black halo"). It never occurred to me that there was one more of them to come, and he/she was delayed for some reason.

Sure enough, right before the show is about to start, down the aisle comes some greasy-headed punk in glasses and a red t-shirt. All the seats to my immediate left were taken, so I knew he was going to step in front of Shaundra and I. No problem. But since at least 2000, I've had an issue with people just crossing right in front of me, sometimes stepping on my feet, and not saying "excuse me." We've even seen it where the words were uttered to the folks immediately to the left or right of us (who were non-Black, interestingly enough), but not to us. Now, maybe it's coincidence, or maybe it's what I call my "Black paranoia," but it seems to imply this attitude that we're not important or worthy enough to extend a basic courtesy to. Fact is, it's happened so many times that I've gotten in the habit of making sure not to move my feet when I see someone coming, just to see if they have any home training, or if they're entitled assholes.

Believe me, there have been plenty of assholes.

But anyway, back to greasy head. So I see him coming, and my feet are already comfortably extended before me--and I ain't moving unless he uses the magic words. Everyone else he crosses either had their feet pulled closer or moved, but that was them, not me. So this moron walks up to me--

And pauses. But only for a split second. Instead of saying "Excuse me," he decided he was going to step over me (one fool tried this in the past, only for me to raise a foot and trip his trifling ass--X-men in 2000). In the process, he stepped squarely on my right foot, and acted like nothing was out of the ordinary. Now we've all stepped on things in our lifetimes; you know immediately when your foot is landing on something that isn't flat. So for this butt wipe to ignore it told me he didn't give a fuck, and/or likely thought it okay and what I got since I didn't automatically move for him without him saying anything--as if it's my place to do so.

Surely, this dude will at least say "excuse me" or "my bad" for stepping on my foot. Nope. No such thing. So I did what any person with a devil on one shoulder and a petty little muthafucka on the other would do--I raised my foot while he was on it and tried my best to send him stumbling to the floor. Alas, I was unsuccessful, and the jackass took his seat--right next to Shaundra. I really wanted to say something--charge his bastard ass up for being such a rude piece of shit--but then I realized if I caused static, my baby would have to deal with the awkwardness of sitting next to his ass the entire movie, or worse, it could lead to an altercation that would get us thrown out and we'd miss the movie altogether. So I sat there, stewing, until I finally got lost in the film and forgot about it.

Until it was time to leave. The sorry bitch-ass was behind us as we filed out of the theater, but I noticed he wasn't brave enough to walk past us. Outside in the lobby I stepped aside and mugged him as he passed, but he kept his eyes straight ahead--like a punk who cut you off in traffic only to wind up next to you at a stop light. I threw a few more menacing looks his way, but our eyes never met. On their way out of the building one of his friends, a scrawny type who I was beyond confident would stand no chance against me if it came to blows, looked me dead in the eye, but kept it moving. The offender, though, acted like he didn't see me.

Whatever, man.

I wasn't going to hit him. I wasn't necessarily trying to start a fight. But I was trying to scare him, though. People tend to act all badass until it's time to deal with someone face-to-face, and since I've apparently made people nervous just by coming in their direction and being Black in the past, I figured I might as well use that power to my advantage for once. But if he did "come at me" physically, I was ready to lay his ass out--and his wormy-looking friends, too. I'm not a big guy by any means, but I had the size advantage on them. Maybe it helped that I've been working out, and the shirt I was wearing fit snug on my biceps.

Then again, I'm sure having the Hulk on it didn't hurt, either...

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