An open letter and an offer to the last six audience rows attending last night’s Wagner concert, and to all enrolled in Music Appreciation/Live classes that may find this applicable.
Dear last six rows:
If I had the money, I’d wager $500 that you were required to be at that concert. I had you pegged the moment I approached the box office. You were a fairly large group. I could tell you weren’t used to this, because it was obvious you had been told what to wear: “Dress nice. Men, button-down and khakis, tie isn’t necessary. Ladies, a blouse and slacks, or a dress. You know, nice.” So every single one of you men, without fail, wore a button-down shirt, no tie, khakis, and loafers without socks. Ladies, God bless you, some of you need to learn what “dress nice” means. Generally speaking, it means I shouldn’t be afraid to look at you for fear of seeing something only intended for your boyfriend or your doctor. Also, if you’re going to wear 5″ heels with a 1″ platform, learn to walk in them. (But I digress).
You all sat together, as far back as possible. You would communicate as friends and comrades, but your eyes carried an undercurrent of “please be my lifeline and tell me we’re in this together because this is really uncomfortable for me.” You’re in an unusual situation, unsure of the unspoken rules of conduct and etiquette, socially out of your depth and wondering why the hell you had to dress up for this. And seriously, it was 8pm on a Saturday! Every single one of you would rather have been drinking some beverages and trying to get laid. This is cutting into your fun time. You didn’t want to be there.
And you know what, I can’t blame you. Classical music, especially Wagner, isn’t for everyone. And this particular program wanted you to think – combine the implied meanings in the music (which is pretty dang difficult if you don’t even know the plots of the operas) with the implied meanings of the film (which was maybe a biopic of Wagner? I’m honestly not sure) and find a third meaning through the combination of them. Even I gave up on that. If I didn’t have the necessary background knowledge, why should you?
So I don’t blame you. However, I’d like to make a deal with you: you can do whatever you want to amuse yourselves while the concert is going on. You can sleep. You can text. You can check Sports Center. You can play Candy Crush. You can do work on your laptop. Whatever you want while you put in your time. In return: shut the hell up.
(Side note: I did notice that the only time you guys were paying attention – and you were dead silent, at that – was when the orchestra was silent. Maybe you thought you’d get caught, or you were missing something important.)
I’m not one of these people who demands absolute silence. I’m not bothered by the intermittent cough or candy wrapper, or even an appropriate comment to a friend. However, I shouldn’t be able to hear you chatting half a hall away. Some of us did actually want to be there, and your chatting and giggling is as annoying as the construction outside your window at 6am.
Seriously. I can’t make you pay attention, and I don’t want to. You signed up for an easy credit and now what the hell is this. Fine! Amuse yourself somehow while you put in your required time. Just don’t force me into it. I actually wanted to be there.
(Congrats to the orchestra on a great performance.)