10/11/2010 12:03 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

That Thing in Your Pants

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for supporting the theater. You seem like someone who paid full price, or at least almost full price, for your tickets. I appreciate that. Thank you for your patronage of the arts.

You also look dapper in your suit/dress. While I often wear jeans to the theater, your dress certainly makes it clear you respect the surroundings. This is an evening out for you. You know you're maybe a little bit superior to the person who just walked in wearing tattered cut-off jean shorts and flip flops. What state is that person in anyway?

Also, thank you for looking derogatorily and shaking your head at the person who arrived a little while ago with a Subway sandwich which she promptly started eating at her seat. There is truly something wrong with eating at the theater, both in terms of noise and smell. I appreciate you knowing that.

You also know that talking, taking pictures or corresponding electronically while in the theater is wrong. Perhaps sins that most people pardon, but sins nonetheless. Congratulations on your awareness of this fact.

However, I cannot call you the perfect theatergoer dear sir/madam. See, you have a blind spot. You have yet to realize that leaving your phone -- smart or dumb -- on vibrate actually does produce noise. (I am assuming that is your phone vibrating out of courtesy to you, but this would apply to any vibrating device.) This vibration noise, while not extremely loud, may be irritating to those in nearby seats. And, yes, I did at first entertain the possibility you may be a doctor or be waiting for some other emergency call; that possibility was made extremely slim when I realized you only check the cause of the vibration when you are bored. At all other times, you leave your cellular device vibrating, as if you are the sole person affected by its movements.

Of course, I am sure you have heard the announcement about how all cellular devices need to be off because of their interference with wireless microphones. You are probably skeptical of this, as am I. (Last week, the plane I was on did not crash, despite a man powering on his cell phone, sans airplane mode, mid-flight. Though please do not do that, just in case.) However, as you may now understand, there is another, semi-legitimate reason for at least selecting "silent" -- that "vibrate" may annoy the theatergoers around you.

I imagine you are rolling your eyes right now or have already -- this is, after all, not akin to starting a war. But, you must understand, I only write about theater. None of what I pen is that serious or profound; every annoyance that can be remedied is deserving of a word or 500.


Cara Joy David