School is in session so SHUT UP!

What I really wanted to say was “shut the fuck up,” but I’m trying to be less of a potty mouth.

Here’s the deal. When you go to a PERFORMANCE by ANYONE of ANY AGE, shut your mouth, your pie hole, your cake hole, your howling gob. Zip your lip. Shut it. Can it.

Am I shouting? It’s better than stabbing ignorant people at school concerts. Probably.

I’m not sitting in an uncomfortable folding chair in a middle school cafetorium because I just can’t think of anything else to do. I didn’t wander in off the streets to witness the miracle of electric lights and badly tuned band instruments. I’m not a Hollywood agent expecting to discover the next Macauley Culkin. I’m here because my child is up there performing on the stage. I presume that’s why you’re here, too. Some child who is supposed to be important to you is performing.

So please, shut the fuck up so I can hear the performance. I don’t want to listen to you natter on about your in-laws, your marital problems, who got arrested, how fabulous Vail was or how much you paid for your car. Shut. Up.

It’s called common courtesy. Here’s a hint: if you don’t practice it, your children will sure as hell never learn it.

Maybe you’re not in a middle school gym. Maybe you’re in a concert hall. Maybe you’re watching the Youth Symphony take the stage where the city’s regular symphony plays out their season. Maybe you’re a proud grandmother decked out in your finest Sunday fur and dripping with jewels.

Put a fucking sock in your mouth, Grandma.

I was at a Youth Symphony performance a month ago. There were two groups performing, two songs each. So we’re not talking about a lengthy concert. The performance was phenomenal. I think. You see, a big, jolly family came in and sat behind me, laughing and swapping phones so they could share photos, exulting in the goodness of being alive on a fine summer’s day.

I’m all for that. Happy. Family. Sharing. Laughter.

But when the performance starts? I had to turn around more than once and beg them to shut up. I can’t figure out which group they were interested in, because they carried on like a hillbilly hoedown throughout both performances.

If you don’t want to listen to the performance, don’t come. Or wait in the lobby. Or in your car. Or in a nearby drinking establishment. I don’t give a shit. Just don’t sit behind me and make more noise than the performers.

For the record, I’m not a classical music snob who is living vicariously through the performances of my daughters. I know very little about classical music except for the fact that the third piece always puts me to sleep. My musical talent barely extends to turning on the radio. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

But my daughters, and every child on that stage, have worked hard practicing for this performance. Give them the common courtesy of shutting up for the short amount of time it takes them to perform.

On a related note, you should also consider occasionally putting down the electronic recording devices and experiencing the music live. Running around with an expensive camera or camcorder does not make you a genius, nor does climbing over other audience members or blocking the view of those behind you endear you to the people who could stick a foot or a sharp elbow in your path.

I’d love a solution that doesn’t end with me being thrown out or arrested. Stink eye doesn’t always work. Neither does a quiet “sh” with a smile. Neither does, “Please, shut up.” I thought about taking their photos and posting them on the Youth Symphony FB page. But I’m open to ideas.

I mean, really open to ideas. We have another performance this afternoon, and I’m contemplating renting a paintball gun so I can just shoot the rude.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “School is in session so SHUT UP!

  1. Suzerain

    Amen, sister, amen.

  2. My favorite gripe. Rarely go to public performances because of it. Moved my seat at my grandson’s concert after a similar troupe took the seat behind me. I was force fed church all through my youth. It taught me one thing. Shut up unless you’re performing. BTW Congrats on your musically inclined daughters!
    Joyce D’Auria

  3. Nancy - Big Sister

    I have a paint ball gun you can use……I also have a pellet gun that might be a little more persuasive. On another note ……when I was in the band in highschool….in the late 60’s, we had a concert……there was a very noisey bunch there. Our band instructor stopped the concert and called out the people that were making all the noise…..really lit into them…..way to go Mr. Constantine

  4. Oh…I enjoyed reading this. I’ve been there too. It reminds me of a time we attended a middle school basketball game. The gym was packed and we got squeezed in next to a couple of women who seriously needed a mouthful of sock. I went through the series of hints…look over shoulder with smile, look over shoulder with stink eye, turn and shh, turn and ask nicely if they could lower their voices….nada. Were they talking about the game? no. Did I give a sh** what they were talking about? no. I started cheering very loudly for EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY. “Good job, Josh! Way to be there, Cody! Next time, Sean! Gotta shoot’em to get’em, keep up the good work, Bailey!” I cheered for the opposing team, I told the refs they were doing a good job, I cheered for the kids on the bench. My husband was rolling with laughter because those two behind us had no choice but to shut the fuck up…and they did because they became consumed with giving me the stink eye. It was hilarious. But could they tell me anything? no. It’s a sporting event, you are allowed to cheer as long as everything is positive. In fact, people jumped in with cheers of their own…(it has a way of getting contagious). It was worth the raw throat…and I got to watch the game! Easy to do at a sporting event. My advice for your next concert…keep the weapons at home…instead buy a cheap-ass bottle of perfume and spray it behind you! They might just move…and you’ll avoid jail time. 🙂

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