People Who Talk In Theatres

 “If you take sexual advantage of her, you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre.” Shepherd Book, Firefly.


 THE STARS:


This post is dedicated to the three girls who loomed over us last night at The Tallest Man on Earth concert at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville. Why is this in the ‘stars’ section? Because I got to see The Tallest Man on Earth and he was sublime. Utterly, utterly perfect.


LACK OF STARS:


Here’s where we get to the meat of the situation, the ropes of stringy gristle and chewed nubs of intestine and spleen that are hanging bloodily from the gaping zombie torso that is this situation. These girls, standing so very close to our chairs, talked the entire show. I’m not talking about hushed whispers about how awed they were at the superb concert we were seeing. I’m talking about raucous, cackling, shouted conversation like a cheap prostitute arguing with a flock of parrots about cultural differences. I’m talking the volumes and intonations of a Catherine Wheel strapped to six cats and released in a space shuttle. And I’m talking about subject matter that would make an NRL team composed entirely of moss and amoeba feel intellectual superiority. Here’s a quick portrait of how these harpies looked:

BESTIES!



Yeah I know, right!


Why didn’t I simply stand up to them, you ask? With great dignity, explain to them why their behaviour is akin to throwing sharks into a newborn child’s crib? Well, I did manage to ask them to be quiet not once, but twice. And so did a gentleman in front of me. And so did his girlfriend. And did they shut the fucking hell up? No.


And this is why I declare a pogrom against theatre talkers. This is why if all the people who talked in theatres all decided to move to one country and become a distinctly separate race, I would relax my normally stringent distaste of genocide. 


They managed to drive even further down the long roads of theatre talking horror and they put their club-like feet firmly on the stupid accelerator. When two of them went off to have a smoke (and at this point the assembled audience must have been hoping for a newer, more instant type of lung cancer to strike them down), the third one started talking on her phone. Her dedication to ruining our acoustic experience was so devout, that she actually phoned a friend in order to help carry it out. By this point, the last few rows were visibly annoyed. In fact, when the smokers came back, they were probably greeted by something like this:

Holy crap I couldn’t even be bothered finishing this picture. You get the idea.
Blobs with expressions. 



Eventually they just left. Perhaps the deep sense of unwelcome permeating the room began to pierce the thick layer of empty screeching and the fog from their dual-wielding of Red Bull and Carlton Draught. Or perhaps they’d heard of a funeral that they could go and have loud anal sex at. Or maybe they are still wandering the streets of Sydney, smearing themselves in their own faeces, emitting a low grunting noise sporadically and collecting old plastic spoons to insert up their noses. 


THE SCORE:


0/5 stars.



Driving

Wearing giant wheeled exo-suits and steering them with nothing more than a complex mixture of hand/foot gesturing.

THE STARS:
Until we have teleportation, cars are clearly our best option of travelling quickly from one area to another. I understand that. Doesn’t mean I have to like doing it.
LACK OF STARS:
 I’d like to point out that I have my full license, and can drive extremely well. I just hate it. Although, come to think of it, my first experience driving was actually an intensely stressful ordeal – which perhaps I’ve never gotten over subconsciously. 
On my first driving lesson, a big deal was made about learning with the same company that taught my mum and my uncles. When I turned up, a gangling mass of pale sixteen-year-old awkward, I swiftly discovered that not only was it the same learners company, but exactly the same man.
As we shuddered down the back streets of Miranda, this wizened, ancient gnome interspersed his calm, bored instructions with a series of elderly lecheries. If having ‘ease on the brake’ mixed with ‘that’s a nice little filly, eh?’ wasn’t nerve inducing enough, another problem was becoming rapidly apparent.
At first I thought it was a slightly odd mistake, when my driving instructor elbowed me in the ribs and pointed out the window at a five-year-old girl, saying ‘There’s a pretty one.’
But rather than taking this story into the traumatising realms of pedophilia, the mistake was cleared up as we turned a corner, and my very own suburban Dumbledore pointed out the window and said ‘Ooh, what do you think of that one, eh? Get’s the old ticker going.’
He was pointing at a small tree.
I mean, as far as shrubberies go, this one probably resembled an attractive young lady more than most. But the disturbing implication was not one of dendrophilia, as I feared, but that my driving instructor was going very rapidly blind. I’ve never really been able to relax in a car since.
I think you need to leaf her alone. You’re clearly barking up the wrong tree.
  Really need to look elsewhere for a root.
 I know you’re acorn for it, but it’s berry wrong. 
My very favourite stories about the inherent fears and horrors of driving all come from my mate Bob. Living for the majority of his youth in the Royal National Park, meant that he would have to drive for 45 minutes through winding bush roads of absolutely stunning scenery just to get anywhere at all. It’s also meant he has had a lot of road incidents, despite being an excellent driver. Here are my favourite stories, and I apologise if I get all the major details wrong:
1. Driving with Bob in his old Volkswagen Beetle through the National Park, down steep windy hills, he turns to me and says ‘If you open all the windows, it feels exactly like driving an office chair with a motor. 
2. On that same trip, he also said ‘It’s a good thing you’re so thin, because apparently with this model, if you put enough weight on the passenger seat, it impacts something with the motor and causes the car to burst into flames.
3. Bob is late for uni, so is probably driving a little bit faster than he should. He turns a corner and hits a patch of water mixed with oil that has dripped from the eucalyptus trees, which is very common on these roads. Rather than crashing, it spins his car around 180 degrees. He eventually stops spinning but ends up on the other side of the road, facing the opposite direction. So shaken by his near death experience, he drives all the way back home before realising what had happened.
4. In my first year of university, I’m at the bar with my newfound writing friends, probably in about the first week or two of session. Bob, who has been at uni a year already, comes to the bar and says hello. A whole bunch of us have to go to the train station, and he kindly volunteers us a lift in his car. As the motor starts up, there is this sudden, horrifying stench. Nonchalantly, Bob tells us that the other morning he’d rounded a corner and hit some roadkill. It was a deer carcass, that had spent many a long summer day rotting on the side of the road. When he hit it, Bob described it as ‘Exploding into a fine red mist’. He then goes on to explain that it had got all up under the car, and when the motor heated up, sent the smell of decaying flesh through the air-conditioning system.
5. Bob and his brothers are driving home, listening to Michael Jackson. They find a box of surgical gloves that Bob’s girlfriend, who is a nurse, had left there. They each put one glove on, in homage to their musical icon, and then start using that one gloved hand to wave at the drivers of other cars. Because they are teenage punks. They pull up alongside some guy in a truck, and impudently waggle their gloved hands at him. The truck driver stares at them for a moment, and then pulls a shotgun out from the seat next to him.
THE SCORE:
2.5/5 stars