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.