I miss civility. I was hardly raised by royalty nor am I Victorian in my dreams. It is just my hope at some point, during my lifetime, that people who have the opportunity to be sitting near me during a performance they chose to attend and paid quite a bit of money for, would just behave. Have you every wished that you could buy all the seats in a concert hall or movie, not for the cool factor of a private screening, but just in the hope that you could really listen and take in all that goes with a great show or film and not have to stew in the desire to turn to the woman behind you and give her a slap and a glare. Granted the energy surrounding a great performance is generated by the vibes of those in attendance, in a synergistic effect with the musician. Was the performance ruined by “that woman”? Well, let’s just say she took up a bit of space in my head, as I conjured up comments to say, things to do (like a voodoo doll) or evil wishes…may her skirt get caught in the seat as she leaves and she is left in her undergarments for all to see. Okay, maybe that is over the top.
Last night, my FHB and I went to see Diana Krall perform in Providence. It was in a beautiful venue that, according to my FHB, had, in his youth, been a rundown movie theater in the downtown, which had undergone a transformation and became an elegant place to hear a magnificent musician. She is so talented and her interpretation of songs is well thought out and powerful. Listening and witnessing a live performance is so good for the soul. The music rests in your being and you can really stay in the moment. The hyena and her date talked and laughed during most of the performance, as she apparently was counting how many people got up during the show to do what people do, when the show is two hours long without an intermission. Her laughter led to shrieking and shaking the back of my seat everytime she counted more people. I did turn on two occasions, and gave her the hairy eyeball and she would stop for a minute or two. I used all my powers of self control to focus on the music and not the madness behind us.
Twice, when my sister and I went to see shows in Boston, we were seated near people who felt they could make suggestions that would improve their viewing or enjoyment at our expense. During the first show, “The Sisters Rosensweig”, I had unfortunately gotten some type of eye infection which made bright lights really hurt me, so I wore sunglasses to the performance. That apparently made the people next to us assume that I was blind and possibly deaf, and thus they spoke to my sister and not directly to me, and inquired if she wouldn’t mind switching my seat, so they could see better. She told them, in a very nice tone, no chance. I glared at them, not that they could see my eyes through my glasses. We were somewhat incredulous as to how obnoxious people could be. The second show we saw was “Spamalot” and the man seated to the right of us, told my sister that her chewing was bothering him and his enjoyment. She hissed at him and said something “snarky”. I actually think as we left, she said something appropriately nasty in the hope that he knew it was directed toward him. We have good manners!
In movie theaters, people seem to feel it is necessary to carry on conversations both during the previews and the movie, in what would be considered normal, not hushed tones as in “do you have a kleenex, this is so sad” but rather “So I said to ..fill in the blank…that if she thought….fill in the blank….” and so on, as though the movie was secondary to her conversation. I’ve had children pull my hair, people sit next to me despite the theater being empty (that’s another story for another time) and then there are the kickers. I really hate the kickers but not as much as the people who guess out loud what is going to happen next. You know who I am talking about…they are also the same folks who sit next to you on airplanes.
Enjoy the show.