Source: Sherman Publications

Reporter's column - We work hard for the money

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

March 28, 2012

I try not to use common adages to describe myself or my activities, but I work hard.

Anyone will tell you they work hard and it’s true for some, false for others, sometimes transparently so. The point is we all do the thing we’re good at to bring home the almighty dollar to get things like TV’s, shoes and, oh, I don’t know, food and lodging. But as Jack Nicholson and Stephen King have taught us, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so some of that money goes towards recreation.

This is the way it works and when it does all is right with the world right? You work hard, play hard and sleep hard, usually in that order.

I take recreation seriously - I make sure to have even a small iota a week. This usually comes in the form of a good bike ride, going to a movie or play, or simply vegging at home on the weekends in front of some illuminated screen. The decompression melts away any stress one feels, even if that same stress is waiting the second the clock hits 7 a.m. Monday morning.

But what happens when that recreation is threatened?

A couple months ago I decided to take a friend to the movies to relax and watch a tale of a horse and a boy (Warhorse, by the way, was fantastic). I chose this movie late in it’s theatre cycle so finding a place showing the film was turning into a hassle, but finally we came across a little place in Birmingham.

We arrived and the experience was going well. There was coffee available, the popcorn was buttered, the seats were very comfortable and the relatively small theatre offered a more interment atmosphere with the movie (about 100 seats.) The lights dimmed, the movie began and the crescendo of noise filled the room.

Except it wasn’t coming from the speakers.

My friend and I had managed to sit in front of something I had only hear about in legend - cell phone users during a movie. Two young woman, likely teenagers, chatting about Facebook while simultaneously using their phones to make calls, text and browse the social networking site. Ok surely it cannot get worse and these two will clue in with a few minor “head swivels” right?

Come now, that’s not the way these columns go.

So these two continue to chat at a less than reasonable volume when up from the left pops an inquisitive three year old asking about everything. The parents are all to happy to explain, until the “war” in Warhorse rears it’s ugly head at which point they flip and start asking ‘who would make a kid movie like this?’

What gave it away? The “war” part of the title?

I am a calm, usually non-confrontational man, but as I started thinking about the $20 for tickets, $10 for popcorn, $12 for coffee and $20 for gas, the stress level built and I did something I have never done before - berated a stranger. I didn’t swear mind you, just turned around and asked them why they thought it necessary to disrupt the movie and if they could take their nonsense to the hall. It helped that my friend joined in, but there was no clapping or satisfaction, just a renewed silence that I’ll admit was blissful.

It comes down to this in my mind. There are 24 hours in a day that are usually split up evenly between work, sleep and play. These values fluctuate on the weekends and weekdays, but for the most part all are valuable. For me, working a 40+ hour a week job has turned me in to a contributing member of society, but when that measure is threatened, it can bring out a monster.

I guess the too-long-didn’t-read version of the story is think about your actions and how they may indirectly affect another person. Most of us work hard to do the things we enjoy and $52 dollars into the hold I demonstrated what happens when an aspect of this balance is disrupted, even without malice.

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