Another kind of virtual reality

These days many movie theaters play commercials before the previews for coming attractions. I guess it’s just one of those sad things we all have to put up with.

But this weekend a friend and I had an even sadder experience. My friend was talking to me during the interminable (and very loud) commercials, when a woman in front of us, who seemed to be in her late 70s or early 80s, turned around and told my friend to stop her loud talking.

I recognized the woman, because I had held the door open for her and her husband when they had first entered the theater (her husband walked with a cane). I am not sure whether she recognized me.

To put the woman’s complaint in context, all the while she was saying this to us, pretty much all the other people around us in the theater were also talking to each other. It’s not as though most people actually watch those stupid commercials. :-)

We tried to reason with her, but the woman was adamant. She was convinced my friend was being inappropriate by talking in a movie theater during the pre-preview commercials.

I found the encounter disturbing mainly because of my suspicion that the woman may have been suffering from some form of dementia. How awful it must be, I found myself thinking, to live in a world where you are convinced that all the people around you are being rude all the time.

I wanted to help her, to find a way ease her evident suffering, but I could think of no way to bridge the seemingly insurmountable gap between her reality and the reality of all the rest of us.

One Response to “Another kind of virtual reality”

  1. Manu says:

    Yes, bridging the gap between realities is one of the hardest challenges, I find. And it becomes even harder when taking to a loved one… But it is one of the greatest learning experiences is you manage, of only briefly, to find common ground.

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