Friday, November 9, 2012

Skybrawl or Something Like It

Something I thought quite impossible happened last night. I watched the new Bond flick “Skyfall”. In a theatre. I paid good money to watch Daniel Craig try to act in a role that I believe rightfully belongs to Pierce Brosnan. The only money I've paid earlier for Craig-as-Pains-Bond films is about Rs 50 for a DVD from Mr. Dodgy DVD Guy.

It was painful. No, don’t get me wrong. The movie itself was nice. I actually enjoyed it, even if I did wince now and then when I saw a striking resemblance between Craig and Alfred E. Neuman. (If you’re going to protest my opinion, I suggest self-immolation.)

The movie viewing experience was the painful part. As my rotten luck would have it, I ended up sitting beside a young boy, who looked about 12 or 13. I didn't think I’d have any trouble. At that age, there isn't any bawling and crying - unless you kick them in the shins or give them a really bad wedgie.

The movie was scheduled to begin at 9:30 PM. As always, it began with dozens of commercials. The boy’s reaction to this should have given me some warning about what lay ahead. He kept yelling, “Start the movie!” which was okay for the first 15 minutes, but then it really started to get old and, frankly, quite pointless. The commercials rambled on for a good 30 minutes, regularly interspersed with “Start the movie!” cries from my unrelenting neighbour. At 25 minutes, I saw his point. While Krook and KO nodded in support of his clamour, I beseeched, “Start the movie already! This punk’s popping my right ear drum!”

I almost clapped with relief as Craig flickered onto the screen and my neighbour settled down.

My relief was short-lived. I soon realized that he was one of those kids who couldn't keep still even for a second. He kept shuffling around, violently shifting about in his seat every minute. I theorized that his pubes had chosen that particular evening to start growing out and were prickly or something. Only that could explain such blatant discomfort.

The boy then put his filthy socked feet on the seat. That did not concern me. What irked me was that he then lay down sideways in his seat, leaning against his mother on the other side, while resting his toe-jammy hooves against my legs. When it became quite clear that I was to play footstool to this little punk, I voiced my protest.

“Excuse me.”

No response. From either him or his mother, who was also curled up in the same position, leaning against her husband. They looked like they were cuddled together on the family couch at home. Only, I was there. Being a freaking footstool saying "Excuse me". For someone who smelled like decomposing cabbage.

“Excuse me!”

Still no response.

So I did the next best thing. I jabbed him in the ribs. He sprang up as I hissed, “Move your feet.” With a mumbled apology, he sat upright for a little while.

Soon, he decided to curl his feet under him. While doing so, he kicked the tub of popcorn resting beside me on my seat. Another quick mumbled apology followed. Luckily for him, I was nauseous from the assault of toe jam and sweet caramel popcorn on my senses. I nodded benevolently and general bonhomie was restored.

Not for long. In time, while the uncomfortable shuffling continued, I felt his elbow touch my arm and then come to rest quite comfortably against it. I figured he wasn't aware of this clear violation of personal space – since he’d proved himself to be somewhat socially daft already. So I politely wiggled my arm a bit to alert him.

No response. The elbow was still comfortably nestling into my arm. My arm wasn't even resting on the arm rest. Little Punk had clearly breached the border and didn't care. Either that or he had a prosthetic arm. How can you not sense you’re touching another person?

With a sigh, I considered my options.

I could go with the idea that the arm was a prosthetic. I could yank it off and beat him with it.


Only there would be hysterical parents and child abuse lawsuits and serial child beater tags to deal with for a long time after.

Reluctantly, I went with my second option. I shoved him with my arm, made a big “pssk” sound with my lips and glared at him, making Kathakali eyes.

Maybe that worked. Or maybe my threatening thoughts were conveyed to him telepathically in that moment. Or maybe he thought I was having a weird facial spasm that was contagious. Whatever it was, something worked.

He shrank away, drew his arms close to himself, placed his feet back on the floor and very quietly and motionlessly watched the rest of the movie.

A wise judgment call by him I’d say. One more infraction from him and I’d have boxed his ears so hard, he’d need closed captioning for his next Bond film.