Matinee Malcontent: A Stand Up to the Bully in Bellevue

Sooo…this past Saturday, I had the audacity. The unyielding nerve. The unmitigated gall…to take Caeden and Evy to the movies.

A good ol’ summer matinee of Paws of Fury featuring the insoluble protagonist duo of Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Cera.

Granted, a zone defense outing to the movies may seem overly ambitious, but given the circumstances, I must admit…we held up fairly well. Outside the dozen times I told the kiddos to half-mast their volume and the 2-3 times I asked if they’d rather leave the premises to hang out in the Suraccha Nebula (also known as the outside world), we had a fine time. Not to mention, I arguably sabermetric-ed 15 fantasy baseball teams to +5-10% playoff odds through strategic roster improvements.

For 90 minutes, life was cool…and I was freezing. Such is life in the very front of a movie theater…

…which if you have young, screeching padawans teetering on pterodactyls, this is exactly where you want to be in these situations. A manufactured refuge center where drool-drizzled popcorn bits and compromised cookie dough bites go to die.

But alas, what goes up, must come down…which in this case, came in the form of a disgruntled malcontent, a prickly, peppery grandpa who probably estranged his son into the military and…well…

Additionally…he had white hair to match his shorts…
…a pastel orange polo to contrast his pasty white exterior…

…and all the makings of Mr. Wilson if they ever reincarnated ‘Dennis the Menace’.

Except Mr. Wilson lived in a traditional, residential neighborhood whereas this guy likely soiled within a gated community surrounded by golf courses and swimming pools tailored to the 1%.

So as to why this crank would disgrace his demeanor by me during the rolling credits? Let’s just say he wasn’t exactly fond of my kiddos. Despite the fact we were 4-5 rows ahead of everyone else, apparently, they were still a bit rambunctious. And while I kinda, sorta get it…dude, it’s a midday weekend showing of a kids flick on one of the hottest days of the year! You think an outing with their dad is not a thrill to them, especially with all they’ve endured? I mean…I know you’re not entitled to context, but seriously! Give your freakin’ head a shake.

Ahem…at this point in the story, I probably should mention what he told me to my face.

You guys were a disruption to all of us. Next time, go to a different theatre. You shouldn’t be coming here if you’re going to be so rude. “

Says the iris-less, old coot…as if he owned the place or even worked as a staff member.

Stunned and nearly silenced, I could only muster a staccato apology.

I’m sorry, sir. We were not trying to hinder the experience for anyone.”

And like a bitter whiplash, the moment was over. Or so he thought. ‘Cause while I’m a humble processor on the front end, on the backend, I’m a wallflower willing to stand up to any bully. If you mess with me, if you’re makin’ like a farmer and givin’ me bull, what you start, I will finish. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a strength but it’s certainly not a weakness when executed properly. Do I have an inner hulk? Yes, yes, I do. And I’m not ashamed of it. Patience and godly thought filters applied, of course.

This in mind, I can now to proceed to tell you how the next 5 minutes went.

First, I grabbed Caeden’s hand. Then, I grabbed Evy’s hand. And then we left…in a gloriously brisk stride Fortified Fitness would be proud of. Caeden said he had to use the bathroom. I told him to hold it. Evy said let’s get a drink. I said it can wait.

With whites in my eyes, I find the kvetch perched on the curb with his wife and grand-daughters. The comeback was imminent.

In passing, I slowly pivot to flex my bow…

Sir, again, I apologize we interfered with your cinematic viewing pleasure. But I want you to know these kids are champs. They have a sister in the hospital with her life on the line. And I’m doing the very best I can. Next time, when we come back, and we will be back, I’ll be sure to obtain a roster of attendees and make sure you’re not on it. Thank you for being the exact opposite of a model citizen to my kids.”

Now, I’ll just go ahead and state the obvious: I may or may not have been a bit too harsh with my mic drop there, satisfying as it was. However, I just couldn’t nor wouldn’t I let this Donny Downer have the final word. Not today…or any other day. Perhaps there are better ways to plant seeds of reconsideration in the minds of curmudgeons. I’m sure better retorts are out there.

But this I know: Blessed is he who is slow to judge, who dies to offense quickly, and is willing to put the shoe on the other foot. You don’t have to be able to relate to my chaos. If anything, I’m open to hearing what’s worked for you in the past. All I ask is you be civil within your critiques, maybe add a sliver of empathy in there if you dare. Who knows! We may even become friends. Or maybe that’s too much to ask if being right is more important. Just know if you go sideways with your tongue, Christ in me, I will set the record straight.

After all, I got to teach my kids what’s not okay.

Selah.

Cover photo creds: cinematreasures.org