Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sometimes you have enough

About eight years ago, Wife and I heard that Carole King would be performing at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis, which is about a three-hour drive from here.

Carole King is one of those artists we would definitely drive three hours (or longer), and pay a substantial amount of money (which we did), to see. She is a classic and one of my all-time favorites. At the time of this performance, although we had both been fans for years, we had never seen her in person. (A few years later we would see her right here in Nashville with another favorite, James Taylor).

Anyway, we made the trek over to Memphis to see Carole and we were pumped. We had great seats -- front and center about ten rows back. As expected, the performance was incredible. It was just Carole at the piano and a couple of guitarists.

I could have easily sung along with her on just about every song. I had long ago worn out the Tapestry album. I restrained myself, however, because I knew that audience members had paid to come hear Carole King -- not me.

A lady in front of us did in fact sing along with Carole.  Every song. Every line. She also danced and raised her hands. I could deal with that but I just couldn't take the singing.

A few minutes before intermission, after her singing became more than I could take, I leaned forward and said, "I paid a lot of money to come hear Carole King, not you."

You have to understand this was huge for me. I am conflict-avoidant to a fault. But I had just had all I could take.

It was not received well. She and her friend glared at me the remainder of the concert. She did stop singing though. At the end of the show, as I was trying to make a quick exit, her friend grabbed me and said she was sorry about her friend but her husband had died about a year ago and she was just getting out again.

I told her I was sorry to hear that but it didn't change the fact that I had come to hear Carole King, not her friend.

Since that time, I have observed that people are more and more rude in public.

In church, people sit in front of me and talk in a normal voice, whether it's during singing, announcements or the message. In addition, couples in church are way too liberal with PDA.

Don't even get me started on cell phones and the ubiquitous texting that goes on anywhere, anytime -- all the time.

This past weekend Wife and I went to a movie. Three middle-aged ladies sat in front of us. They talked non-stop, in a normal voice, from the start until the credits. They also texted.

Wife, who is becoming more bold as she gets older, kicked the chair of one of the ladies. It made no impression on her. When she was engaged in a long texting exchange, with the bright light of her phone shining in our faces, Wife had had enough.

Sensing what she was about to do, I put my arm across her as she was leaning forward, much like my mother used to do to me in the front seat of the car when she had to stop suddenly.

I then leaned forward myself and said, "TURN OFF YOUR PHONE!"

She did. She continued to talk to her friends but at least we got something.


Kelly said...

I'm proud of your boldness, Bob!! Like you, I'm non-confrontational. (my kids always said I'm "big talk, little do")

I'm good with the evil glare, but rarely speak up.

Debby said...

You were firm and direct, not rude. Good for you. Both.

Andrew said...

Yep... I am amazed that people will pay big bucks for a show, then sit and have a conversation with a friend the whole time. I have started attending plays in the past few years, and it is amazing to me how often folks just sit and talk through the show. I have also had to stir up my nerve to say something, since I too avoid conflict. It is funny to see people get offended by my asking them not to talk during the show.

LL Cool Joe said...

I just popped over from Kelly's blog. The lady singing loudly at the concert would have irritated me too. Well done for saying something.

I used to run Bobby Vee's fan club, and he and Carol King were good friends. He always spoke warmly about her and her talent.

Hal Johnson said...

I don't enjoy confrontation, but I would have handled the singing lady in much the same way. Or tried.

quid said...

Agreed on her rudeness and your methodology. Went to a musical at the splashy Straz Center in Tampa last week. Two guys in front of us got up to clap and clap in the middle of the last song and yell encore!!!

It hadn't even finished. (It was the new show, Flashdance). Naturally, they were both well over 6 feet. I finally dragged my butt up when the song had finished. But I couldn't see even standing. Sigh.