Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Wish compassion had come more quickly

Sean and I went to see the new Tom Cruise movie yesterday. Jack Reacher was really good – a bit overboard on the violence, but I just closed my eyes for certain parts.

About 90 minutes into the film, my phone vibrated. The kids are in Atlanta, so I checked to see if it was one of them. It was Michael, so, as discreetly as possible, I turned on my phone, let him hear we were in a movie, and whispered, “We’re at a movie.” He said, “Okay!” and hung up. I knew if something was wrong, he’d say more than that, so I settled back into my chair and enjoyed the rest of the film.

As the credits rolled, the lady sitting next to Sean said very loudly, “Too bad we had to listen to a phone conversation through the whole movie!”

I was shocked, but felt an apology was in order.  I said, “Ma’am, I’m so sorry. It was my son and he’s out of the state. Just needed to make sure he was okay.”

“Well, if you can’t turn off your phone, you shouldn’t be at the theater,” said she to my apology.

Thinking maybe she didn’t understand what I’d said the first time, I said, “Again, I’m so sorry. But my son’s at his grandparents’ house and I just had to make sure everything was okay,”

“Again, if you can’t turn off your phone, you shouldn’t come to the movies,” was her reply to my second apology.

Are you kidding me?! I was shocked.

She said I was very rude and all but ruined the movie for her.

The entire call took 18 seconds. So a movie that lasts 2 hours and 10 minutes was ruined by an 18 second interruption. She bothered me at least that much with her incredibly loud popcorn crunching.

I was hot. (I’m sure this is difficult for y’all to imagine.) Sean quickly ushered me out of the row before I said or did something I’d regret.  I was pretty pumped up from that action film and was sure I could take her; she was easily in her 60’s and pretty out of shape…

At the time, I had no compassion for her. But as the night wore on, I realized only a miserable person could respond like that. I apologized – twice! – but she was having none of it. When a woman has no compassion on another woman who is caring for her child, well, that woman must be in some serious pain.

Today, I'm praying for her. And I hope that maybe she gets a phone call that she can’t resist answering, too.