A Letter to the Couple in the Movie Theater 

To the couple who sat by me yesterday to watch the new Star Trek movie,

You had no idea how your arriving 20 minutes after the 4:20 start time put you in a certain category in my structured world. You also had no idea that I watched you ascend the steps toward me in the top row, corner seat, somehow knowing this wasn’t going to go in my favor. And then you had popcorn. You really had no idea.

The theater wasn’t even half full. But yet you somehow determined that walking up to the furtherest corner was the best move. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out. You, ma’am, had some sort of wrap on your lower leg. That drove you to my corner. You were looking for the best seat in order for you to prop your foot somehow. You had no idea that my plan was to raise the armrest when the movie started in order for me to prop whatever healthy part of me I wanted on the seat next to me.

Sir, I’m sure you had no idea when you sat down next to me that I seriously considered moving down to one of those dozens of seats you passed to get to one next to me that I also considered mine. And, I hope you had no idea that for about the first ten minutes of the movie God and I were talking a lot about you and your wife.

Actually, God was talking, and I was doing a whole bunch of listening; and you and your wife wasn’t what he talked about much to me at all. Although he did point out that you paid for one seat, actually two, just like I did. And the seats at Royal Palm are certainly not reserved, so you had every right to pick a seat wherever you liked or your wife needed. He also reminded me that some people enjoy the whole movie experience (refreshments, getting up to go the bathroom) unlike I do, and that is also perfectly normal, even acceptable.

After God pretty much told me to get over my introverted self, you had no idea that I started watching both of you. Yes, the distraction of your hands going in and out of the popcorn bag initially annoyed me, but I chose to appreciate that you graciously shared the popcorn between you. Ma’am, I watched you adjust yourself as quietly as you could throughout the movie to ease the pressure on your foot. And when you openly engaged with the movie by laughing and commenting, I moved from wanting to relocate to actually enjoying your company.

So, by the end of the movie, which I recommend seeing, you had no idea the lessons I had learned that had nothing to do with the content of the movie. It had to do with you, with how to enjoy any movie experience, and with accepting people for who they are, especially when they aren’t like you. Couple, thank you for coming to the movie and choosing to sit next to me. You had no idea.


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