Saturday, October 25, 2008

Excuse me, your cone of silence is defective

I just have to vent some steam! Last night a friend and I went to see Feist in concert. That girl can rock but she can also carry you away on the voice of a nightingale. The show was great – a mix of rock out blistering guitar work, toe-tapping pop tunes, and lilting acoustic solos.

Now you would think that having paid for a ticket (plus possibly dinner, parking, and/or a babysitter) that everyone would be there to listen to Feist and her band. Apparently not... We had the stunning misfortune to be surrounded by not just one but three couples (mid-age adults whom you would think would know better) who seemed to think that they were at home watching a music video in the privacy of their own living room.

They provided a running commentary on everything from how much they liked (or didn’t like) a particular song, the band’s skill (or lack thereof), the stage lighting & screen show, etc, etc. But what stunned – and irritated – me was the absolute lack of effort to lean towards their companion and speak quietly. It didn’t seem to occur to them that a) their ongoing conversations might be disrespectful to the performer and the setting, b) that their conversations might be considered incredibly annoying and disruptive to everyone within earshot, and c) that their ongoing behaviour might be legally defendable grounds for physical assault.

This was the third concert I’ve attended in about a month – luckily the first two experiences were amazing: the music, the venues, the energy, and the rapt appreciation of the audiences. Sadly my very enjoyable memories of the Feist concert are marred by the utter bloody rudeness of these people.

Perhaps we’ve forgotten how to behave in a communal setting. We don’t hold doors open – or even bother looking over our shoulder – anymore; we don’t teach (or show by example) our children to say “please”, “thank you”, and “would you like some help”; we’re so caught up in our me-centred experiences that we seem to have forgotten how to be civil and considerate of each other. Remember that warm, grateful feeling you get when a complete stranger does something nice for you? That’ll only keep happening if we pay it forward and remind each other that we live in a village, not under a cone of silence.

BTW I did finally tap one woman on the shoulder and, pressing my index finger to my lips, gave her the international ‘sshhhh’ gesture followed by a frustrated “Please”. Her outrage at being shushed boiled over when the lights came up and she jabbed me on the shoulder 4-5 times, telling me that she had been enjoying the show until I so rudely interrupted her. Mustering all the withering and dismissive disapproval I could deliver I simply said “You’re so rude.” and walked away. Like me, she’s probably still fuming! :-)


AnneW said...

As they say here in the South "some people just ain't got not broughtens up".

Truly, I am amazed at the restraint and maturity of your reaction. As usual, you have the knack of finding just the right words at times like these. Well done!

Amanda M said...

Don't get discouraged, kiddo. The world is still full of considerate people who hold open doors, say please and thank you, and occasionally do "pay it forwards" by paying for the order behind them in drive-thru's. They're rare, but when they do happen it makes my heart sing.

Manners do seem to be more prevalent in small towns. People just seem to be more friendly and courteous. Maybe it's because if someone is rude to someone else the story will get around and make life miserable. I dunno.