Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Lamentable Uncuriosity...

To my right, National Review Online contributor Cathy Seipp:

Cathy's World: Anyway, we got to the 1:45 p.m. movie about 10 minutes early, and were happy that a row of four center seats in the handicapped row were free. If you've never seen this new movie theater arrangement, they leave a row with spaces for wheelchairs and the seats are for the wheelchair people's companions. Had such a group come in, of course we would have made way for them, but as usual none did so I don't see why the seats should go to waste. In any case, I certainly felt entitled....

But around 2 p.m., after the previews were over and the movie was about to start, three old ladies walked in -- no wheelchair, no walkers, not even canes -- and demanded our seats. "No," I said, looking down towards the end of the handicapped row, where there were some empty seat still available. The rest of the row had filled up, as usual, with perfectly able-bodied people. "You can go sit there."

"Are you handicapped?" one demanded, yelling to be heard over the soundtrack.

Luckily, the Fentanyl patch I was wearing was visible near my collarbone (usually it's near the hip) and also pretty obvious because I'd needed to keep it on with rubber tape that day. These pain patches are so powerful (unless you're "opioid tolerant," like me) that they come with rather alarming instructions: If you don't dispose of them exactly right (cut in half and folded over, then flushed down the toilet, even if not used), every drug addict in the county will break into your house, plus all pets and children within a three-mile radius may die. I don't like the idea of the water supply being further contaminated by discarded drugs, though, so I just put them in the trash. "Well," I snapped, "there's enough morphine in this to knock out a horse, and it's still not really working. Does that answer your question?"...

Obviously, the problem was they were hoping to sit in the center instead of off to the side. Since I didn't budge, they grumpily clomped off. But I don't see how being old and slightly weak entitles you to the best seats in the house just because you couldn't be bothered to get to the movie early, or even on time.

I can see it's a problem, though, how to handle that handicapped row. Maybe the theater should keep it roped off until the movie starts and then anyone can sit there. Or an usher could escort a person "needing a little extra assistance" (as the airlines say) to the handicapped row, and offically eject the able-bodied if that's necessary...

To my left, National Review Online contributor John Derbyshire:

John Derbyshire on Conservatism on National Review Online: Liberty vs. equality. There has been no rollback of the tort-spawning, job-killing egalitarianism of the 1990s. Title IX and the Americans with Disabilities Act are still on the books...

I wonder: Does Cathy Seipp know why there are now handicapped rows in movie theaters?


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