The other night J and I went to see Terence Malick's The Tree of Life. I've been looking forward to seeing the movie since rumors of it started circling last year, and against my better judgment (but at the urging of J) I invited a friend of mine and his new fiance to join us. Let's call this friend George, and his fiance, Abigail (because that is essentially what they look like to me).
I first met George in grad school in Boston. George is the typical overachiever with a severe case of ADHD, has collected various degrees, ranging from humanities masters to MBA's across this great big ol' country of ours, and has obvious commitment problems when it comes to relinquishing himself to one profession. (He's currently the CEO of a start-up medical IT company that actually seems to be experiencing modest success in its infancy. This after he made multiple appearances on CNBC and CNN talk shows discussing his "first ever virtual magazine" that he launched about three years ago before virtual mags were the norm.) Well, George recently moved to my town (of all places) with his newly minted fiance he met for the first time last year in line at an Auntie Anne's Pretzels in a mall in Los Angeles. Since I am one of only a handful of people he knows in the area, he's been incessantly calling to hang out with J and I. Which is cool, since I love a good cocktail hour, but it can get a little much when you do it for days in a row. I can only handle so much ADHD.
ANYHOO, after (politely) rejecting his invitations for weeks, J suggested we invite them along to see The Tree of Life...just to show we weren't opposed to hanging out or anything. I was on the fence about extending an invitation since the last time I saw a movie with George was when the two of us went to see Walk the Line opening night in Boston. Let's just say it was a disaster, in every sense of the word. And it all culminated with his cell phone ringing on LOUD during one of the most pivotal moments in the film when Joaquin Phoenix undergoes his home detox with Reese Witherspoon. Not only did George's phone ring in the silent, packed theater, he then proceeded to answer it and have a conversation with the person who called as people yelled at us to be quiet. It was mortifying, and visions of the night resurfaced as I hesitantly extended an invite to Tree of Life.
And what do you know? History has a funny way of repeating itself, in not-an-altogether identical way, yet close enough. We met up with George and Abigail outside of the theater, along with their two friends they decided to invite along and not tell us about till the last minute. No biggie, that I don't mind. But after we took our seats and the theater lights dimmed, George proceeded to talk during the entire first 45 minutes of the movie. No joke. I felt like I had entered Hell, since one of the fléaux de mon existence is when people chatter through movies. Granted he wasn't speaking at a normal volume, but it was still above a whisper and that, combined with Abigail's obnoxious giggling every 20 seconds at whatever he was saying, made me want to throw my tub of popcorn in their direction, douse them with my Diet Coke, anything to make them shut up. It only added to the charm of the situation when George kept standing up and walking over to his friends across the aisle to hold actual conversations with them while he was on bended knee. All while the movie played in a semi-packed, darkened theater. Was this really happening?
About an hour into the movie Abigail, who was seated to my immediate left, leaned over to me and said "George says this movie is so depressing that it makes him want to kill himself. We're going to see Midnight in Paris next door..." She followed this with one of her annoying and expectant giggles, as though perhaps I shared the same sentiment. I shot her a straight-faced look that meant "You've got to be kidding me" and simply said "Fine, go." (No giggles from my end, since the movie, though slow in its start, was actually quite good but would have been better if the charming couple seated to my left would have just shut up and tried to understand it.)
A second later George leaned toward me over Abigail's lap. "Are you annoyed that we're leaving to see the other movie?" he asked.
"No," I whispered, turning back to the movie.
"You look annoyed..." he prodded. I quickly turned back to him.
"I'm annoyed because you've been talking through the entire goddamn movie. This is a theater -- STOP TALKING!!!" I hissed. He gave me a look as though it suddenly dawned on him that movie theaters weren't meant to be socialized in like pool halls. Five minutes later he, Abigail, and his charming friends stood up and lurked out the theater doors.
Of course during the rest of the movie he texted me incessantly from next door, asking if J and I would wait outside of their theater for them when we were finished since we had all planned to grab drinks afterward. But when The Tree of Life was over, the last thing I felt like doing was getting a drink with them. I passed their theater en route to our car and texted that we were just going to head home. His response?
"Sorry for having left....I feel awful."
I snickered at the cow poo I was actually reading on my cell screen. Really, guy? Do you really feel that awful? Because if you did you probably wouldn't have done it in the first place, but since you are one of the most inconsiderate people I have ever met I seriously doubt you even care. And I think that's what pissed me off the most about the whole situation. It wasn't just the fact that getting up and leaving in the middle of a movie you were invited to is what I would call pretty rude, it's also the fact that you had to talk the entire time you stayed. As if the whole world revolves around George and Abigail and everyone else must be expected to laugh along with their thoughtlessness.
On the way home I questioned why I even bother returning his calls anymore. Not over just what happened that night, but for every similar inconsiderate thing he's done leading up to it. I don't really want to associate with people who think it's okay to be rude or disrespectful under the guise of of "having fun" or being "funny." The older I get, the more I just find it classless and irritating.
A few days went by and George called again. His message was upbeat yet vague, requesting that I call him back. (I am 99% sure it was to invite J and I out to Mojito Mondays.) As much as I love my mint-flavored cocktails, I can think of 3,000 other people I'd rather grab mojitos with. (Okay, 3,000 is an exaggeration, more like 20 -- 55 if we're counting celebrities and deceased novelists.) So though I'm pretty good about calling people back, I decided he was no longer worth my time and deleted his message without returning the call.
My life is too short to deal with bullshit.