I recently went to the movies when a woman sitting one seat away took out her knitting. I don’t think I would have had such a problem, if she hadn’t kept raising her arm to pull the yarn! I wanted to say something, but felt like I was on uncertain ground... she wasn’t being noisy, just pesty. How would you have recommended we approach the knitting knucklehead?

2004_12_ask_moviesknit.jpgWe love knitting, but we think certainly think it is inappropriate to knit - or to do anything that could be distracting to others - during a film.

We think people who are doing something that bothers those around them often don't realize that they are annoying others. So saying something politely would not be out of line, such as, "Excuse me, I'm really sorry to bother you, but I'm finding that a little bit distracting right now. Would you mind putting that away until the film is over?"

Of course, in some situations the offending person may be well aware that they are annoying others and just not care. If the person refuses to stop, or you're not able to say something to him or her, the only recourse you have is to change your own reaction to the annoying person. We're reading a book now called Just Add Buddha by Franz Metcalf, and there is an entire chapter called "Dealing with Troublesome Types (a.k.a., All Living Things.)." Mr. Metcalf advises us to "humanize the troublesome person. Humanizing them works because most of us are decent people, so when we see other people's humanity we relax, we open up to them, we might even begin to care about them. In any case, we let go of our reactive, negative mindsets." Who knows... perhaps the woman was knitting in the movie theater because she was trying to finish making Christmas presents for homeless children, and she didn't realize that she was bothering anyone.