You sat behind me today. You sat behind most of us. When the movie ended, the whole theater was talking about you because you wouldn’t stop talking during the movie.

I had no idea what age you were. I didn’t know how many you were. All I knew was that you were women; sometimes people can pick out these things. I’m not judging you because of this. (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a woman, too. Hi, how ya doin’?) In fact, I’m not even judging you. I’m simply remembering how, one day, I paid money to see an award-winning drama that I adore with at least fifty other people who were doing the same. The experience was transcendent. We soon discovered why it has been sold out. Our ears rang with the masterpiece, but then, if I may quote the film, “You were there—yes, you were there.”

As soon as the opening made itself known to us, you found it a good time to rustle every item on your person. You also found the entire length of the movie to speak openly and giggle amongst yourselves. This made me believe you were teenaged girls who needed to crack jokes because you were uncomfortable with the weight of the story.

Soon into the show, I knew the size of your cylinder of popcorn and enormous soft drink by the echoing sound of their emptiness. Place them somewhere when you’re done with them. You thought it best to make narrations about the obvious. My mother does this at home but has the public decency to not regale an audience in what they can figure out for themselves. One of you even used the old classic, “What’s that actor’s name—the one who’s starring in this film? He won an award for such-and-such….” and later thought it well to ask someone else who that actor’s name is while those very credits were rolling before your eyes. When I finally turned around during the credits, there you were, all three of you middle-aged ladies. Funny; by the noise you were making, I thought there were at least seven of you.

I’m trying to figure you out. Really. Your participation today might have been a combination of your age, your sex, or your sense of care-freeness because you were out with friends. But here’s the thing: kindly shut up. The thing is, you’re sharing this room with everyone else. We, who are also in the room, were fine with you (or anyone else) getting up to go to the bathroom. The less, the merrier. We’re fine with your quieted reactions mingling with the breath of the crowd. It’s good to know that you’re feeling the movie as we are. We’re also fine with you eating your popcorn. The crunch is part of the movie experience we know we must bear even when we don’t partake. We even appreciate your nose-blowing through tears because, in the darkness, we’re doing the same.

What the people around you are NOT fine with is how you blatantly pull our attention away from the magic before us. Your immature comments and constant quizzing of where the characters are need not be spoken so loudly. In fact, they need not be spoken at all.

Think of a movie theater as a theatre theater. This is live. No one can pause or rewind. You’re packed in a crowded place, rubbing elbows with people who don’t care to hear your opinions before they’ve seen enough to form their own. We didn’t pay to sit near you; we paid to have our minds taken away from ourselves by something others spent so much time and money on to produce for us.

If you have to talk during a movie, save your money and save the public. Rent it to see at home where you aren’t rude.