Thursday, March 18, 2010

Be nice or I'll hit you.

So today, my sister and I had made plans to see Alice in Wonderland in 3-D, at 11.15 am. So we were stoked, because it's almost always assured that there are more empty seats than full ones that time of day.

We sat through all of our polite instructions. Please turn off your cell phone. Please don't talk during the movie. Please dispose of your trash properly. Please silence your cell phone. Please put your cell phone on vibrate, and by the way, no texting. 

Really. The calming voice asked us to cut the crap with our phones three times.

I'll cut to the chase. The magical film-turning machine broke just as the movie was about to begin.

So we all got our money back, and we also got a ticket for a free movie.


So what were we to do with the benevolent gift of time?

It was Kathy's idea. She wanted to thrift.

So we went to the bins. We both wandered in a low-key way. Then, one of the employees started announcing loudly and parentally - without the benefit of a microphone or other sound-enhancing device - that new bins were being brought out, and under no circumstances would there be pushing, shoving, or taking from one another's carts.

Okay, I thought. I'll just stay where I am, trolling though the bins.

The new bins were rolled out. The diehards, with their gloves on and eyes darting, went in like carp to a loaf of bread. Loud, frenzied mayhem.

After the first wave of crazy digging was over, I sashayed on over. Then the fighting started.

A highly acquisitional book-trolling man assumed an equally aggressive woman said some disparaging thing to his kid. And they got into a big brawl. It was like the Tattered Cover in Hell.

Security was called. Interventions took place. It was such a sociological study in annoyingly shrill vs. wildly dysfunctional. Thankfully, no blows were thrown, no guns were drawn.

And the end result?

Tempers cooled.

My sister and I stayed under the rule-driven radar at both of our stops. We silenced our phones and followed all the obvious rules that were outlined at the movie, and later we avoided the urge to provide conflict resolution at the bins.

As for the thrifty yield, I didn't find much. My sister found a cartload of cool stuff, including an amazing Smith Corona electric typewriter, in the case, with several ink cartridges and instruction manual. It was as if someone dropped it straight from 1974 into the bins. The whole works set her back a whole 3.99.

It was definitely worth the trip. But the theme of the day seemed to be that we as a culture apparently need to be told to reel our instincts and just be polite.

Sometimes it's good to just blend in; just go along to get along.

Miss Manners has many faces.

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