DH and I went to see a movie yesterday. The movie has been selling out at every showing since it opened Friday. We'd been eagerly awaiting this movie so were very excited to get to the theater early to pick up our tickets (which I bought in advance) and choose our seats. The only theater in town that is showing this movie is a small arthouse. It's a bit unusual. Instead of typical theater seats, some of the rows have old, comfy couches and chairs. Usually, only two people will share a couch. They get pretty tight with three people.
We were there early enough that we had our choice of couches. A few minutes later, a man sat down on a separate couch next to ours*. The theater was filling rapidly. The man had a friend who joined him on his* coach. Then the man turned to DH and said, "I'm saving the seat next to you for my friend unless you need it." By that, he meant that he was saving a third spot on our couch for his friend. We both looked at him with puzzled expressions. He's saving a spot on our couch? It was a clumsy way of asking if we needed the seat. DH looked at me, and I said quietly to DH, "It's okay, we're not expecting anyone else. The movie is going to sell out, so someone will probably need this seat." DH told the man it was fine for his friend to sit on our couch.
The man's friend arrived a couple of minutes before the previews. He was quite a large fellow. DH and I wound up sharing one-half of the couch to allow enough room for the friend. As the previews started, he began bouncing his right leg up and down, shaking the entire couch. He would pause briefly, then raise both of his feet in the air, dropping them to the ground and bouncing the couch, and then bounce his leg up and down for several minutes. This pattern repeated even as the movie started. I hoped he'd calm down and relax, but he didn't seem to be. The bouncing and shaking were very distracting. I whispered to DH that I would not be able to deal with the bouncing and shaking of the couch for the next two hours. It wasn't much different than riding a horse.
I leaned over DH and whispered, "Excuse me," to the guy. He didn't hear me. I wound up tapping him on the leg to get his attention. It was the closest body part I could reach. He turned and looked at me after I tapped him. I whispered, "If you could stop bouncing your legs, we'd really appreciate it." He apologized and stopped. He was still for the rest of the movie. We enjoyed the movie without the bouncing.
Was there anything rude about what I did? DH said I was nicer than he probably would have been. I wondered if we should have found a way to be more tolerant. Or should a person sharing a couch with two strangers take steps to be mindful of his behavior? I've asked people to be quiet in movie theaters before. I even asked a kid to quit kicking the back of my seat once. But this is the first time I've asked someone to stop bouncing on a shared piece of furniture in a public auditorium.
I will say that we were probably better off than the people on the couch in front of us. There were four people wedged onto that couch. In the future, when a packed house is expected, we'll probably choose one of the regular theater chairs instead of the couches.
*Note: I'm referring to the couches as "ours" and "his" only to distinguish them. I don't perceive any ownership.