Open Questions

Open Questions: The Live Audience's Guide To Life

The other night, I attended a sort of dinner-club-ish show with a singer/piano guy backed by a small band. Not very edgy, this event; he performed "Love Will Keep Us Together" as well as "Weekend In New England." I'm just saying; there was nothing raucous or rip-roaring about it. Not an every-man-for-himself mosh pit. It will be important in a moment.

Anyway, when everyone else had come in and been seated, and before the show actually started, an (I'm guessing) intoxicated lady came toddling down the aisle (in her party dress and feather boa, thank you very much) and plopped into the lap of someone she knew. Her noisy arrival meant nothing good for anyone in the room, but it was particularly bad news for the people behind her, who couldn't see a thing with her wrapped around this guy and teetering on his lap. If a piano player is going to wear bright red tails with sparkles for his performance, you'd like to be able to at least see him.

Boa Lady is confronted by the mob and how you can help, after the jump...

The folks thus blocked gently pointed out that they couldn't see, and they gestured down the row a bit to where there was a free seat. She peered where they were pointing and then said, her voice dripping with the contempt you might normally reserve for someone who had just assailed a woman's right to leave the house without pantaloons, "There are no seats down there, so I guess I'll just sit right here where I am." However snotty the tone you are envisioning, I want you to try to make it a little more so in your mind; make her louder, more emphatic, more committed to the justness of her cause, more disgusted by the suggestion that she should move.

She probably soon realized that she was likely to be evicted from her perch by force if she didn't shape up, so she stood (barely), ordered a little girl (!) on the bench directly in front of her row to "scoot over," and finally sat down like a person. She then turned around, stared boozy daggers at the people who had been behind her previously, and snapped, "How about this? Is this better for you? Is this okay?"

What I want you to understand is that her theatergoing etiquette was such that she honestly believed that there was no excuse for anyone being such a stick in the mud as to suggest that it was perhaps appropriate to sit in a seat and not on top of another audience member. This was not a debate at a rock show about whether it's rude to sit on someone's shoulders. This is utter civilized calm confronted with anarchy.

So my question to you today is this: Let's put aside crinkly cough-drop wrappers and children running up the aisles; those are the classics. But other than that, what would you put on your list of Live Audience Commandments? I wouldn't have thought "Thou shalt not sit on laps, and this means you, Tipsy McCocktail" would need to be on there, but apparently, I need to make that my first entry.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.