The reason I could barely write yesterday was because we had a school group in to watch a film early in the morning. Teenagers. This can strike terror into the hearts of the staff, myself included, even though it’s easy to prepare for the onslaught if one keeps the following in mind:
- They eat a lot, no matter the time of day.
- They really, really like Skittles. (We sold 14 large bags of them, meaning 1 in 8 kids had one.)
- They don’t drink coffee. (Seriously, coffee is the only thing that got me through high school. WHAT IS WRONG WITH KIDS TODAY? Or do they all opt for Red Bull now?)
- They take ages, because they are too busy chatting to look up and see sizes/prices/selections until they are at the front of the line.
- They have a lot of spending money.
- They will put ‘funny’ notes in the suggestion box, so it is essential to hide it.
- They are generally pretty surly, rarely look you in the eye, and even more rarely say thank you.
I always make a wee speech before the film begins, so I can pretend to have some kind of authority, to ask them to not hang out in the loos (this happens anyway if the film is dull), to pay attention to the signs saying the balcony is closed (because the chain across the staircase invites leaping, apparently), and to pick up after themselves (rare).
But y’know what? Teenagers are capable of defying expectations. This group was not sparkly and magical, but they were just ordinary, good kids. It’s easy to forget that they exist sometimes. One, a tall boy with green hair, was overheard telling all his friends that the theatre was ‘so cool’ and encouraging them to come with him (he, apparently, has been to the cinema several times already). Many of them are super-psyched about this (based on the poster). A few of them, my goodness, even said ‘thank you’ when they left. Even better, we got a thank you tweet from one of the students, a self-described ‘film geek’. Aw. Lovely.
I went to indie theatres a fair bit when I was in high school, so I had a nice little frisson of nostalgia from this bunch. That having been said, I still barely feel guilty for getting all NIMBY-pantsed when I found out skateboarding teenagers just moved in across the street and really liked to do tricks along their driveway for hours on end. Ugh, young people.
QI – What is the point of Teenagers? from Maximilian Oliver on Vimeo.