You Have My Attention. Now What?

Today I went to see the latest X-Men film. A mediocre affair not without entertainment value. As I walked into the cinema and moved down the row to my seat, I passed a group of guys, perhaps 15 years old. They were rowdy and having a good time. One of them, made some snarky remarks at me that I didn’t quite catch, but I let it ride. As I waited for the film to start, I noticed him staring at me from the corner of my eye and making some comments to his friends. When I looked at him he laughed and looked away. It was clear to me he was trying to antagonise me a bit. I have seen it before — hell, I may have done it a few times in the past. You get someone aggitated and then feign ignorance when confronted.

On the way out of the cinema he was walking out before me. I noticed him staring at me again right before taking the staircase down to the lobby and again as he was waiting at the bottom of the staircase. I decided to give him a scare. As I came down the staircase I made a point not to make eye contact. As I moved towards the exist I pretended not to notice him staring at me and then when I was as close to him as I was going to get, I moved to confront him.

Even before I could say anything he started apologising. One of his friends started laughing, either at him or at the awkward situation and kind of pushed the kid towards me. He bumped up against me a bit and I gently pushed him off of me and said; “So now you have my attention.” And then the feigning of the ignorance started. I told him that not everyone is going to be so lenient as I am. He pretended not to understand me as he addressed me in a very nervous and ultra-polite tone. As I was about to explain it to him, another of his friends chimed in and basically said what I was going to tell him; that he should be lucky that I’m not a psycho and that someone less balanced would have knocked him out.

I felt the point was made and told him to listen to his friends and walked off. It strikes me as bizarre how many people think they can get away with antagonising people.

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