Thursday, April 29, 2010

Emily Post Hates Peacocks

Saturday Dean and I donned our special clothing and made our way to the local high school to usher at the last symphony of the season. I didn’t really want to go. It had been a beautiful and warm (finally!) day. I’d opened all the windows to try and switch out the old, stale winter air with the new, fresh spring air. I didn’t want to spend my evening in an old stuffy auditorium while birds were singing their own symphony in my yard. I couldn’t imagine anybody else would leave their yards to show up either and expected the attendance to be poor, but I put on my black usher clothes and off we went.

Have you ever wondered why black is the color designated for usher clothing? I guess it could be because it might make it easier to get volunteers. The odds of a person not owning black pants, shirt and shoes are pretty low--probably about the same as my cat not finding and eating a free range rubber band and then throwing it up. So, yeah, I suppose already having the clothing would make it harder to refuse a person on bloody knees begging you to usher. However, after last weekend, I now think the real reason usher clothing is black is because it makes them invisible when they need to slink down the aisles, in the dark, with late arrivers. This last symphony not only proved me wrong in my predicted low attendance, but unfortunately, it was also attended by an incredibly large number of thoughtless concert goers.

Our conductor is very laid back as far as conductors go. He doesn’t get upset if people clap when they shouldn’t; he’s cheerful and friendly and genuinely happy people are sitting in the audience. He’s nothing like the guy who conducted a symphony we attended in Rock Springs once. I still feel bad for the woman who forgot to inform her baby of the proper conduct at a symphony. If only she would have said, “Baby, do not squeak, gurgle, or coo at any time during the concert. Not once.” Soon after the music began, the baby made a small sound. The conductor stopped the orchestra, turned around, and shot daggers from his eyes straight into the mother’s eyes until she slunk out of the auditorium clutching her baby, never to be seen again. But even a laid back maestro deserves better than the proliferation of unforgivably rude concert goers that crawled out from under rocks for the final concert. The lights were dimmed, the symphony had begun and people were still sauntering in. I’m not talking about slipping in just before the doors closed (although there were plenty of those folks). I’m talking about unapologetic, shameless people who showed up five or ten or even 15 minutes after the musicians had been playing.

I have never figured out why it is so hard for some people to be on time. Do their watches not work? Do they not own a clock? Are they so busy and important they just can’t leave whatever oh-so-important thing they’re busy doing and get to the concert on time? It’s not like they jumped up from planting their spring onions, threw down the trowel, gasped “I’m late for the concert!” and showed up at the door out of breath, covered in compost and apologizing profusely. No, these people were strolling in decked out in their best symphony duds. Is their genetic makeup part peacock? “Oh, look at me. I’m walking to my seat. I’ve fluffed up my feathers and puffed up my chest. Look at my big peacock feather butt.” Do they think they are more important than a stage full of musicians? They’re not only rude but they’re stupid. It’s dark. Nobody can see them anyway.

And as long as I’m on the topic of rude, I’m a bit annoyed at the other ushers who seem to feel they can carry on loudly whispered conversations at the back of the auditorium, during the concert, while sitting in the (albeit very uncomfortable) folding chairs. Isn’t that what intermission is for? Tell each other about your bunions and how your son can’t get a job while you’re in the VIP room eating cookies and drinking punch. Come on… who complained about the late-arrivers and their rudeness. Get a clue. Or next season I might feel compelled to stab you with a peacock feather.◦


Deb said...

Um - the big tom turkeys do that out here - fluff feathers, puff up their chest, flip their big turkey feather butt - and strut around the nearest female after beating up the youngest turkey in his way (can beat up any older ones - hes an OLD tom yanno). So when I saw the peacock comment - I almost rolled out of my computer chair - thinking - very clearly - the last 'turkey performance' I saw in our driveway - chuckles - I can send ya some turkey feathers - they may be sharper than peacock even tho they are shorter... Thanks for the chuckle...

Jerry said...

Your concert was no different that a funeral. I have seen people walk into the funeral just as it was ending. Then there are those that can't sit more than 5 minutes and have to go our for a smoke break and then come back in. People are people.

Art Elser said...

I'm sure those "peacock feather butts" would have been there on time, but they had to attend to their other very important function, talking on their cell phones and texting whilst driving erratically down 2nd or Wyoming scaring hell out of the rest of Casper. They drive slowly in the middle lane, speeding up after they hang up, then slow quickly as they place their next call or finger the next text.

Had the opposite experience at the poetry reading we went to at the Kirkland Museum here in Denver. People came early to look important around the goodies table. The free wine didn't help. There was also lots of whine being served by the VIP peacock feathers. Peacock feathers in this case sprouting on chins and under berets.

Having to look important and show off their VIP peacock feather butts gets very complicated by having a concert to attend also. Cut them a little slack, Cathy. It's tough being a VIP turkey.