Rebel without a phone

Caitlin Brown

The sign clearly says “No Cell Phones.” It’s a movie theater. One I’ve been familiar with ever since we moved to the town when I was in kindergarten.

I hate getting in trouble. The way my cheeks feel like they’re engulfing my face. The way they tingle and I can almost feel their screaming red color.

A gruff voice behind me: “Hey – turn off the cell phone and put it away. No phones in here.”

“Oh – OK – thank you!” Thank you? What? Thanks, sir, for yelling at me? Oh how much I appreciate public debasement and humiliation, especially with 20 high schoolers (shadier characters than myself, that’s for sure) sitting around with their cell phones that this proprietor just as easily could have swooped on?

I was texting. During the previews. I was actually saying good-bye, have to go, the movie’s starting soon. But they are serious about the cells, man. At least mine, anyway.

So what did I do? Exactly what I didn’t want – I obeyed. I rarely shut my cell phone off, but with his words still ringing in my ears – literally, it seemed – my hands moved of their own accord. My phone, shut off mid-text, was hurriedly shoved into my purse.

Indignant doesn’t even describe it. Outraged, maybe. Thoughts of remonstrance with this audacious man thumped through my head.

What do you think? Was I wrong? I know there was a sign, but do many actually follow it? The movie hadn’t started yet, may I remind you. I’m not one to sit through a movie and text – it’s rude to the people I’m with and those around us.

I felt powerless, even though I knew it was something I brought on myself. Rules are everywhere, but do we have to follow them all? I’m not talking felonies here, or even moral wrongs. (I know you were getting worried, Mom and Dad.) I’m talking about rule breaking of the rudimentary sort: going out the entrance-only doors at Target, sipping your drink while you wait in line to pay. You know, just things you aren’t “supposed” to do. Does it hurt anyone? Rules are there for a reason, but with so many of them out there, don’t we deserve to be just the tiniest bit selective?

I am not a naturally rebellious person. I would walk completely out of my way to leave through those designated exit doors if I thought leaving through the wrong ones was really going to cause a fuss. Though I can see how for some, common tiny-rule breaking may open doors for worse, bigger issues, breaking the small ones doesn’t seem to be a problem for most people.

I didn’t ignore the sign to spite authority. It really just never occurred to me that I, personally, needed to obey that sign. Call it teenage egocentrism; call it a habit born of the example of those around me, whatever. I don’t promise that I’ll never send a text in a movie theater again – sometime, it’s bound to happen. But not only will I now keep an eye out for proprietors who mean business, I’ll look harder for the serious rules disguised as simple ones as well.

Caitlin Brown is a freshman nursing major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].