Theatergoers from Hell


Most people who attend the theater in New York City are pretty well behaved.  They turn off cell phones, unwrap their candies and stop talking when the house lights dim and the curtain goes up.  Every play that I’ve been to since cell phones were invented a few decades ago has a pretty standard advisory for audience members to do just that.  Sometimes the advisory even includes an “or else”, strengthened by the threat of one or all of the cast members coming into audience to find malefactors.  So far, no play has threatened dismemberment.

However, once in a while you find yourself in a seat near a chucklehead who’s been living in a cave for the past 45 years.  I had two chuckleheads to a high exponent seated next to me recently at a matinee.

In the middle of the first act, when it was clear their attention was flagging, the man pulled out his cellphone, turned it on, and reported, in what I would consider a loud whisper, an incoming text to the woman to his right.  She then responded back in another loud whisper.

After a few initial seconds of code red anger on my part, I turned to them and said, “PLEASE…TURN….OFF…YOUR… PHONE!!!!!!!”  He looked startled but he did.  They left at intermission.




An “Uh-Oh” Moment and the Value of Mindfulness


The above isn’t a self-portrait (fortunately).  However, it has happened when someone looking at her phone tumbled down an open sidewalk grating.

I’ve had a few close calls and think it’s useful to reflect on the importance of being in the moment and not distracted by the many gadgets (by that I mean mostly our smart phones) that seduce us away from the reality we’re in.

Keep yours in your purse or pocket as you walk down the street and notice the number of people who are looking at their own.

This is a request for concentrating on what you’re doing when you’re doing it –particularly if it’s walking or driving, when forward motion and not concentrating don’t mix well together.  I think there have been studies that also show that reading or watching TV when you’re eating keeps you shoveling food down, and potentially overeating, instead of savoring what you have on your plate.

So, friends, stay in the moment and keep all your senses open to your surroundings.  You might even smell the roses and hear the birds again.  And save yourself from breaking your neck.