I am an extremely patient person.
People are always saying, "you have the patience of an elephant" or "gosh, you have the patience of Job." And, I always respond. "Yes, yes I do."
I am also a bald-face liar; which is what brings us to the February entry of "As the Tron Churns".
Last Friday I attended the Symphony. In college, going to the symphony was almost a weekly occurrence because we were music majors and the tickets were cheap. Now that I'm a big boy, I must pay big boy prices, which has limited my attendance. Not for Dvorak.
They were playing Dvorak's 9th Symphony and therein lies my beef with the classical music business. They treat almost every composer like a One Hit Wonder. If one makes a request for Beethoven, they play the 5th. If one asks for Soft Cell they play Tainted Love. Want to hear Vivaldi? You get the Four Seasons. Ask for Dexy's Midnight Runners you get Come on Eileen. And, if you want to hear anything by Anton Dvorak, you'll be listening to the 9th Symphony.
There is nothing wrong with the 9th Symphony but it is to his 8th Symphony what Touch of Grey is to Althea. What Blowin' in the Wind is to Desolation Row. What Nothing Else Matters is to Master of Puppets. What Barbie Girl is to Cartoon Heroes. The 9th is good, the 8th is better. But, the good people at the symphony chose to play the 9th and so I was there.
And if that's all I had to complain about the evening, I would be wasting your time.
I'm getting there, just have a little patience.
Everything was going just peachy until about half-way through the 2nd movement. This is the Largo, the Power Ballad of the piece. It is slow. Super slow. And quiet. And the audience was loving it. You could have heard a pin drop. But, I didn't. Instead of a pin I heard Thhhhhhwwappp.
That's right. Thhhhhwwwap
If you want to know what this sounds like. Take a small magazine and quickly thumb through all the pages with your thumbnail. It goes....Thhhhwwwwaap. A small magazine. Or maybe a program printed on glossy paper.
It was someone who was fidgety and messing around with their program, right? I mean I've gotten bored during the symphony. Hell, I've become bored writing this post.
But it wasn't boredom. It was sheer malice. It was sheer malice by a little old lady with gray poof hair. I had looked around after the fourth or fifth time fully expecting a kid who just wasn't quite into it. Instead I see this older woman staring straight ahead. Fingers poised on the edge of her program. And she is still staring forward - like STRAIGHT AHEAD. And I'm staring at her. There is no possible way she couldn't feel my glare. Any normal woman would have turned and at least made eye contact, even if to say "What the fuck, sonny?" So I turn around. And then I hear thhhhwwwaap thhhwaaaaap thhhhwaaaap.
And I'm not the only one bothered by this. People are shushing. That sort of quick sshhh that you make when you're trying hard not to explode. She finally does make eye contact. For a brief moment. And instead of a hint of a smile to indicate humorous intent, or even like an "oh no?! I'm ashually bothering you?" she just looked at me with a smirk of defiance and made one long thwwwwaaaaaap And she kept doing it. Through the 3rd movement.
Through the fourth.
And I am all the while plotting this woman's demise.
She was too far away to grab the program - even during the break between the movements. But don't think I didn't envision my lightening quick reflexes snatching the program out of her hands and whapping her once on the nose like a bad puppy. Any move to pick the program up would surely have resulted in my banishment from the venue for life as well as falling out of my chair and ripping my suit coat and slacks. She was behind me, which threw out any Godfather-esque retribution (picture my Clemenza to her Carlo Rizzi). She was too far away to whisper death threats against her and her children. It was bothering other people, my laser glare, so I was content to just listen to what I could hear of the symphony over the growing echo of her program thwwwiping and thwwwaping. She couldn't have bothered me more if she had sat directly behind me and lightly scratched the nape of my neck with a peacock feather. Or a rusty needle. Or the teeth of a saw.
When the symphony finally ended and the audience shot to their feet (seriously, if you can manage to finish a piece of music here in this state while staying alive and not bleeding over the audience you'll get a standing ovation) I still had no grand plan. I couldn't reach out and pinch her bat wings. Or crush her granny glasses.
So I just talked to her.
Well, not at her. Just about her. Loudly. To my girlfriend. I was complaining to A while staring straight at the old woman who was turning redder and redder. And that made me happier and happier. The culmination of which was my commenting on her lack of manners considering how damn old she was. She nearly fell over the people in front of her trying to get out after that.
If there is any theme to this collection of rants online it is that I have the maturity level of a 12 year old boy. But, I also have the sense of justice of a 5 year old which is: if you make me mad, I'll make you pay. So while I can't scratch, kick or bite you, I'll just publicly humiliate you. And that never leads to my own public humiliation. Never. Ever.
So, to my beautiful girlfriend, I'm sorry. To the patrons around us, I'm sorry. But not to you, you program flipping crone.