I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year. From what I hear, so have a lot of people. Money is tight, employment is hard to find, and the Catholic Church has changed the responses so the whole congregation has to read from a script throughout Mass. I’ve put up some decorations, I’ve bought and made some presents, and I’ve attended a Christmas play and a Christmas party with friends. But I had hopes that last night would finally fill me with the holiday spirit. It was time for John’s Christmas Choral Concert. His chorus teacher works so hard, and gets such fantastic results out of these hormone-riddled middle-schoolers that I knew I’d enjoy it. And I did enjoy it, but I had to work very hard to do so because of the rude woman sitting in front of me.
I took this picture near the end of the hour-long concert because I simply couldn’t believe this had been going on so long. This woman texted throughout the concert. I don’t mean she texted now and then, perhaps about something urgent. I mean she texted constantly, never raising her head to look at the performers or putting down her phone to applaud at the end of songs. Her daughter, who looked to be in about the fourth grade, was with her, and the woman never even looked her way while the girl stood up, looked all around the auditorium (except for at the stage) and in general blocked the view of everyone in the next couple of rows behind her. Again – throughout the concert. After the first song (which my son wasn’t even in, but I wanted to see and enjoy and entire show, and my husband was videotaping it for out-of-town family members) I tried the Well-Brought-Up-Southern-Girl approach. I leaned forward (toward the woman, not my husband) and said in my normal speaking voice, “Michael, would you like to sit in this open seat on the other side of me so you can videotape the concert without your view being blocked?” He just shook his head, because he knew where this train was headed, and that he was merely a passenger.
As the concert progressed through beautiful renditions of both traditional and lesser-known carols, with student accompanists on the flute, the piano, and the drums (that one didn’t go as well as planned); and solos by a handful of gifted children, I couldn’t help but be impressed by all the hard work that had gone into this concert. The children were all dressed in shirt-and-tie or modest dresses (OK, most of them were modest), they had clearly been practicing hard, and they were giving it their all. But still this woman didn’t stop texting. I couldn’t help myself. I made remarks to Michael between songs that ranged from “Why would someone come to a concert and text through the whole thing? She never even looks at the stage. Why bother showing up?” to “It is inexcusably rude not to applaud at the end of a musical program.” and “It’s obvious where her daughter learned her manners.” By the time the concert ended (to a standing ovation from everyone except text-woman and her child) I was furious. Maybe I’ve been reading too many Stephanie Plum novels (they do contain a lot of stun-gunning, and the most recent one is fabulous) but I think the best solution would have been to have given both the woman and her child a small zap during the first song of the concert, when it became apparent they weren’t going to behave properly. A little extra voltage may have been needed about half-way through to keep her down, but it would have made for a much more pleasant experience for everyone around her. I’ve been a very good girl this year . . . perhaps Santa will put a stun-gun in my stocking. One with a long-lasting battery would be nice, because I have a feeling I may need to use it often.
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