You see curious things in cinemas. A while back, it was a young woman applying make-up. Whenever the screen was bright enough, she would carefully go to work with the kit and mirror like a painter aiming for the Archibald Prize.
When the screen went dark again, you could almost hear her sigh about the interruption. It's fair to say she was not gripped by the film.
There are enthusiasts who shout and gesticulate at characters on screen. There are hissers who rise up like serpents at an offensive moment - including a mining industry commercial before a recent movie.
One fellow moviegoer once took great delight in slurping down a box of fried chicken as warm and oily fumes filled the cinema. Another knitted with a constant click-click-click of needles until a neighbour gently suggested this might be better kept for home in front of the TV.
Twice within a week recently, patrons nearby chose the dramatic climax of a movie to send a text message, presumably advising their friends they were heading for the exit soon.
When I mentioned to the second texter after the movie how distracting this had been for a dozen people nearby, he reeled away as if shocked and hurt. I suspect he told his friends later how rude some people are.
Even as cinemas have evolved - bigger screens, 3D, premium sessions that serve food and drinks - one of the great pleasures is still the enveloping darkness that shuts out the world for a communal, transporting experience.
Momentary interruptions such as quick exits, turning off a forgotten phone or even food arriving are part of the deal; intrusive texting shouldn't be.
Now comes an American survey showing not only have 55 per cent of cinemagoers texted during a movie but 27 per cent have checked Facebook and 19 per cent made a phone call.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, ''a majority of 18- to 34-year-olds believe using social media while watching a movie in a theatre would add to their experience and nearly half would be interested in going to theatres that allowed'' it.
Now there's an idea: cinemas full of patrons madly texting, checking what their friends are up to on Facebook, consulting the Internet Movie Database for cast info, tweeting about the film and getting directions to a restaurant for dinner afterwards.
It's not such a surprising prospect given how we've incorporated smartphones and tablets into our lives.
The American survey showed that while watching TV 79 per cent of respondents had checked Facebook, 83 per cent had surfed web sites other than social media and 41 per cent had tweeted about shows. In that 18-to-34 demographic, the Australian figures are likely to be similar.
Electronic multitasking adds a layer of enjoyment to watching TV. During a so-so one-day international cricket match on TV last month, the most entertaining moments came from a frenzy of witty tweets about Nine commentator Mark Nicholas's tight pants, gushy manner and awkward interviews.
When a popular movie screens - The Lion King, for example - a community of fans tweet about their favourite lines and scenes. (A sceptic would suggest TV producers are so aware of this that they recruited tweeters for the first episode of the ABC drama The Straits recently to ensure it was trending in Australia.)
In theory, allowing cinemagoers to do the same could open up a new way for filmmakers to interact with them. It could work when multiplexes screen such ''alternative content'' as rock concerts or sporting events.
But widespread texting and web surfing in cinemas would be a dismal and distracting development, like letting worshippers bring their chickens into church services.
The survey had another fascinating finding: 40 per cent of respondents said trailers and previews were the biggest influence on the movies they saw and 20 per cent nominated TV ads. For 18 per cent, it was speaking with friends and family ''offline''.
That goes against the adage that ''word of mouth'' is the biggest single factor in a movie's success and shows how effective Hollywood has been in marketing online.
It shows the challenge for Australian filmmakers who, unlike every Hollywood blockbuster, often don't have marketing budgets for TV ads. It has become even more important to have a great trailer and to use the internet, including social media sites, to get it seen.
Garry Maddox is a Fairfax writer.