I continue to lose faith in humanity as a whole. Actually, humanity is a pretty good hole, if you’re talking a-hole.
So last night as usual for this time of year, I attended the first of three dance recitals I will be at this weekend. My daughter has been taking dance for several years. I like the fact the she’s in dance. Please don’t compare your average small-town dance event to those crazy morons on TV, it’s usually not like that. If your dance teacher is like the one on Lifetime, find a new one.
I like dance because: Theres only one weekend a year to go to. Other than lessons, there’s not much to do. I hear about these poor softball parents that spend three days a week wasting away in bleachers for hours, or soccer moms that spend half the summer watching matches and I think, “God Im so glad that isn’t me”. I hate sports, and certainly don’t want to spend hours and days watching sports that I’m really not interested in. Dance is also inside, in the Air Conditioning. If my daughter wants to take up a sport, I guess gymnastics would be fine, after all, that’s inside.
So I’m at the dance recital and people file in like normal. All around I hear little mutterings “No, these seats are saved.” Seven seats. In a row. One old granny parked on each end of a row of seats. They’re saving seats like it’s the junior high lunch room and they’re waiting on the popular kids.
No. You don’t do shit like that. A family of four walked past you, the theater is getting full, there aren’t a whole lot of seats left, and you have the audacity to tell someone, “You can’t sit here, even though you are here already and the lazy group of jerks I am waiting on haven’t bothered to show up yet.” Thats what you are saying, to another grown, adult person standing there in front of you. As if that’s not bad enough, people accept this, as if these two women somehow have the right to do that. If someone told me and my group, “Oh no, you can’t sit here because we’re saving this row”, it would take everything I have not to just give them a hearty “fuck you”, and plop down any way. Yes, I would sit down, but cursing is out, because after all, its a theater, and you don’t want to get tossed out. People actually have to get security involved over seat conflicts. Simple rule: If it’s empty, sit in it. Sure, leave a seat for the husband that may be in the bathroom or the wife parking the car, but if there are six seats in a row empty? Take four of them and have a seat. Grandma’s buddies should have gotten there sooner.
Electronics rule the world. Big announcement right before the show: No recording the show (because after all, DVDs are available for purchase), that’s pretty easy to understand. No texting during performances. Also pretty easy. The dance performances are short 2-3 minute events with a minute or so between them while they reset props and get out the next group of kids. Plenty of time to text if you need to. Please put away all electronics. Again, simple. No flash photography.
So…what happens? People just basically ignore all of that. The lights go down and it’s like a candlelight vigil in the audience from all the phones that are on. The audience is glowing. Ushers and security have to run around telling people, “Hey dumbass, put up your phone, there are actual people to watch on the stage now”. Well, they were nicer about it, but that’s pretty much what goes on. Look, I know people have to text and check their Facebook pages every four minutes or they start having withdrawals. But not during the dances, especially the opening number.
Worse than that are the parents who bring little kids with their iPads or tablets. The lights go out, and there are sections of the theatre bright enough to see from space, because these little darlings are too young or uninterested enough to spend three hours waiting on their sister to dance for two minutes. So, they have their own entertainment brought in, with the express purpose of pissing off the people who are there to actually Watch. The. Show. Again, it’s ushers to the rescue. “You’re going to have to have your child turn that off”
“What’s he supposed to do for fun?”
“I don’t know miss, maybe WATCH THE DANCE?”
So this one kid has an absolute fit when mom turns off his iPad. In the vernacular, he “flips a bitch” and loses it. Mom finally takes him in the lobby and does nothing effective, because he still cries and whines (I guess he’s not used to being taken away from the Apple Babysitter). The ultimate solution? Take him upstairs where there’s not much of a crowd, sit him in the balcony section, and leave him by himself with his teddy bear and his iPad in the corner where he won’t bother anyone. Look, hire a babysitter, leave the kid with grandma or your baby daddy for the evening. I get it, seven year olds don’t care to watch their five year old sister falling all over the stage. I feel his pain. But just because you couldn’t come up with something better to DO with him, doesn’t mean it’s okay for him to bring the light of a thousand suns into a dark theater.
And of course comes the “I just want to record MY kid” parent. Every act, here come the camera phones. Because nothing looks as good as your child through a tiny 3 inch screen, instead of you looking at the stage and enjoying the show. And nothing quite pisses people off behind you while they try to watch their own kid, but instead have this light in their face because you’re too cheap to buy the show DVD. At least learn how your phone works. Turn down the brightness to its minimum level. The video will still be bright when you put it on Facebook, watch it three times and never look at it again. Turn OFF the “flash”. Yeah, that little LED light 75 feet away from the stage is really improving your child’s video… Seriously though, it’s not doing a damn thing but acting like a laser beam in the eyes of the people immediately around you. The dancers are lit up by several thousand watts of light. You know what that means? You DON’T NEED A FLASH!
At least there were no crying babies.