To make some moolah while endeavoring in my educational pursuits, I spend a lot of time working at a small, local, and independent cinema. Such a place has many advantages, and some cons to go with it. Getting free tickets whenever I want is certainly a perk. Working next to a popcorn machine in a non-air-conditioned lobby in Melbourne’s freak 45 degree heat wave for a week is not all that great. Thankfully, the good generally outweighs the bad.
I knew that this job would be the perfect casual position for me to have while completing highschool. My first shift there involved making fencing swords out of straws and cup lids, and dueling my manager behind the candybar. The staff there form a really tight group, and you’re never without someone to either help you out, or crack a joke.
I’ve watched as the cinema has gone from an older, rundown theatre to a flashier, modernised establishment under the new management. I’ve seen the old movie-reel projectors get replaced with digital high definition. I’ve sweated out long summers waiting for the slurpee machines to get installed.
One of the greatest perks of working at the cinema, is being able to witness the great vastness of humanity that exists. Working where tickets are $8, you see every kind of person in existence; the families keeping a tidy budget, where the children are always saying adorable “thank you“‘s after you give them their tickets, the bogans who get aggressive when you explain that Iron Man 3 left the cinemas months ago, the lonely people who come in as part of their routine and just like to have a chat, and the people who try to scam you for free stuff unwarranted. My favourite folks however, are the elderly patrons who come in without fail to see the movies they value so.
They tell you stories of how they used to come to the cinemas as children, when things were only in black and white. This week I got to talk to some older women who recounted their experiences during the bombing raids of WWII after watching a movie on the subject. My favourite interaction with the older patrons however, is when I’m required to ask for presentation of a Senior ID card to receive a discount.
After the ever-asked question of ‘What, don’t I look old enough?’, it’s always safest to reply with ‘Oh no, I wouldn’t believe that without proof!”. This is generally a rather well taken rebut, and the responses I get from it are priceless. "You cheeky monkey" can be replaced with "You smooth talking devil" or "You clever [profanity]". While being told that I’ll "go far in life" with that kind of response, the true value in it is the smile and entertained expressions I get out of it. It’s not as though it’s the only compliment or jest they’ll receive - it’s more about how strangers are able to engage in open, uplifting discussion instantly.
It just makes me think how sad it is that we aren’t more open to do this kind of thing on a regular basis. I take public transport on occasion, and I tend to stand in a lot of lines while waiting to get my lunch from Subway. Why is it that we’re so oriented to avoid interacting with everyone? I get that not everyone is social and may feel uncomfortable, or that maybe they’ve had a bad experience… but why are we often so hesitant to go "Hey, you’re a person. How’re you doing today?". Sometimes we’re able to strike up a decent conversation, but often times we’re afraid of making a fool out of ourselves, or afraid that it’ll just be awkward.
Henceforth, I suggest that from now on those interested in randomly embracing our fellow humans in uplifting conversation don a symbol. It would need to be visible, but not permanent - so no tattoos or piercings. You would probably want to be able to use your hands for other things while waiting to be talked to, so no gang signing. Constantly repeating “TALK TO ME PLS” is rather inconsiderate to the general public - so no chanting. As such I recommend that everyone interested in random social chitchat should wear a rubber glove on their heads. Or something link that.
boom social interaction get on it