Cell Phone Users Endure Host of Indignities at the Movie Theater

It's tough going, but they're not giving up.

ITH THE ubiquitous use of cell phones in all aspects of daily life has come an unfortunate side effect: the frustrating inability to complete, or sometimes even begin, a cell-phone conversation inside the cozy confines of a darkened movie theater.

"It's such a natural place to talk," says 17-year-old Jenny Seefert, expressing the views of millions of Americans. "It's dark, so you can see your display, and it's roomy, if you sit in a row by yourself. But, talk about impossible! I can't make a call without some old person yelling at me!! I'm like, what is your problem??"

Aside from the rudeness of movie patrons—who appear to have become ever more emboldened in recent years to yell at complete strangers who use cell phones—the distraction of powerful loudspeaker systems in theaters, combined with the insistent flashing of moving images on the screen, ensure that what would otherwise be a perfect place to sit and chat is marred almost to the point of uselessness.

Theater managers, however, seem loathe to upset the status quo, and insist that their movie patrons' rights must somehow be considered above those of cell-phone users.

"The theater is a place you go to see a movie," declared one belligerent manager, reflecting the hidebound view so often expressed in this conservative backwater.

Despite the persistent barriers to cell use during a movie, there doesn't seem to be much enthusiasm for a legislative solution to the problem. Jenny Seefert thinks this may be because most legislators are "old guys with fake tans who don't even know how to use cell phones, so what do they care?"

And, if current trends are any guide, things might actually be getting worse for cell users in the movie theater. Before even the previews have begun, many establishments are now running blatantly anti cell-phone announcements on the screen, warning users to turn off their cells for the duration of their stay.

However, in acts of passive resistance many are comparing to Ghandi's struggle for India's independence from British rule, some brave cell users are simply entering the theater midway through the movie so they can claim, rightly, not to have been privy to the warning.

Added Jenny Seefert, "My mom told me that Ghandi also sat down and wouldn't move for the British, no matter what. I'm going to rock the Ghandi. History does not always suck!"