June 21, 2009


So there we were...

I hate that I have to type this story.  I wish I could tell it to you in person, with wide eyes and lots of expletives.

We took a bus tour to the Grand Canyon yesterday.  And as happened when we went on a cruise, my husband and I remembered why we don't like being trapped with strangers.

Since it was a long drive to and fro, we watched movies on the charter bus.  There were a couple of kids on the tour, so the bus driver insisted we watch appropriate movies.  On the way there, we watched Marley and Me and Evan Almighty.  You get the idea: family movies.  And on the way back, this lady...

Wait, let me back up.

My husband and I were the first people on the bus, and we accidentally picked the worst seats.  On a tour of polite Japanese and snoozing Italian tourists, we happened to sit behind the most hoopleheaded, annoying, creepy American family.  I can't even do their annoyingness justice; it was just one of those situations where you find yourself unwittingly eavesdropping on their inane chatter for fifteen hours because they just won't shut up.

It was going to be a toss-up over whether the mom or the dad was the more annoying, but then the mom made a shocking leap into first place.

On the way back, the mom volunteered to choose the movie we'd watch.  And on a bus filled with Asians and black people, this lady picked out Gran Torino.

I am crapping you negative.

Here's how it played out.  Keep in mind that this conversation is being shouted the length of the bus, with the lady up front at the DVD player and me about 2/3 of the way back:

Lady: I really want to see Gran Torino.
Sarah: Nooohooohoo.  Not a good idea.
Lady:  But I want to see it!
Sarah:  It's not really, ahem, socially appropriate for this setting.  It's very controversial.
Lady:  Well, what else do you want to see?  No suggestions?  Then let's watch Gran Torino.

Now I am starting to lose my cool and get knots in my stomach.  There is no way we can put that movie in on a bus full of minorities.  (My husband wondered if the Japanese people would even catch the "zipperheads" and "gooks."  I said perhaps not, but everyone knows the n-word when they hear it.)

Meanwhile, I am trying to insist to the lady's husband that we simply cannot watch the movie.  I tried so hard to be diplomatic, saying that while it is an interesting movie to watch and discuss, this was just not the right time and place.  When the lady returns to her seat, her husband says maybe we should pick something else.  The lady starts pouting.  Finally, I lost it and said, "Whatever.  I'm glad you're comfortable playing a movie filled with the n-word."  Then the black ladies next to us start to get involved.  I swear one of them went all Bon Qui Qui and muttered that she would cut her.

Thank heavens someone else must've told the bus driver the deal, because by the time I marched down the aisle to insist that the movie was absolutely unacceptable, he had already figured out the gist and put the kibosh on it.

But seriously, oh my lord.  I about died.

My husband and I spent the rest of the trip giggling about other movies that we could suggest to watch: American History X, Crash, Deliverance, Pulp Fiction, and (the LOL suggestion from the husband) Brown Bunny.

We may as well have suggested porn.  It might've been less uncomfortable on a bus full of Asian strangers than Gran Torino.

I hope this lady goes home, rents the movie, and then realizes what she almost did and feels like crap.

No more group tours for the Grok family.  We're flying solo from now on.

Posted by: Sarah at 02:15 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 659 words, total size 4 kb.

1 sounds like fun ;-)

Glad you stood up to the moron.  And at least the husband didn't just support his poor persecuted wife being picked on by the power tripping movie critic. 

Posted by: wifeunit at June 21, 2009 03:25 PM (t5K2U)

2 What I don't understand is ... why was a Gran Torino DVD on the bus in the first place? Did this woman bring it with her?

I was surprised that Pulp Fiction was among the available choices for movies on my flight today. My neighbor was watching it. (Every seat has its own video player.) But I should have figured, since I was sitting behind someone playing Kill Bill on last week's flight.

I love the pun in your title!

Posted by: Amritas at June 21, 2009 04:07 PM (2eQQr)

3 That makes sense.  I guess I just don't see Gran Torino in the same light as those other movies.  

Posted by: Beth at June 21, 2009 04:47 PM (0FZs/)

4 And I'd have sat there silently and let the nitwit put the movie in.  It'd have been much more fun to watch her be mortified, and maybe she'd have shut up.

Posted by: Chuck at June 21, 2009 04:55 PM (meX2d)

5 Last night after chatting with you, i shared the story, and we all got a good chuckle out of it...

We have been married for a LONG while, and do not do group things, never have as a rule.  I can barely stand to be surrounded by hoopleheads in Walmart, or a movie theater...

Posted by: awtm at June 21, 2009 05:19 PM (NuDbL)

6 I'm with Amritas on this one, what in the world are they considering "family friendly?"  Good for you for standing up. Yeah, and I did wonder why you left the d off Grand when I saw that title.

Posted by: Ruth H at June 21, 2009 05:19 PM (KLwh4)

7 I don't understand why the movie was so horribly inappropriate.  I would understand if you were objecting to the language or violence due to children.  But to be worried that minorities would be offended I'm not sure I get.  I thought it was a wonderful movie about getting beyond stereotypes and such.  I would have been more than interested in watching that movie in that setting.  

Posted by: Beth at June 21, 2009 05:26 PM (0FZs/)

8 Beth -- By all means, I am willing to watch Gran Torino with people of any race who choose to watch that movie.  But the key word there is CHOOSE.  If you are trapped on a bus with no way to avoid a controversial movie, I think that's terrible.  It's not even like an airplane where you don't have to plug your earphones in; the sound is piped through the whole bus.  (And that movie would never be shown on an airplane.)  The point that horrified me was that people might be forced to watch a controversial movie that they just don't want to see.  I would've been equally pissed if they'd chosen Fahrenheit 9/11 or Religulous or Expelled (OK, maybe not *equally*...) just because I don't think controversial movies are appropriate for situations where people are forced to watch. 

Posted by: Sarah at June 21, 2009 05:40 PM (JJVbW)

9 Wait - so the bus driver was worried about the kids on the bus THERE, but not BACK?  SRSLY? 

What exactly was this "family friendly" criteria that Gran Torino fit? 

Perhaps that wife would have appreciated a showing of White Man's Burden. 

Posted by: airforcewife at June 21, 2009 06:26 PM (NqbuI)

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