Monday, April 20, 2009

Talk is not only cheap...

I GREW UP in a noisy family.  The folks and relatives shouted at each other, even as they were dozing off after dinner.  If you wanted a second  helping of mashed potatoes you had to get my mother's attention by  yelling across the table, "I WANT MORE MASHED POTATOES, HELEN!"  Otherwise she wouldn't hear because one of my uncles already commanded her attention with,"WHERE'S THE OLIVES?" Most of the time the din was a cultural thing.  It was harmless (not always) high-strung, eh...communication.  When I left home I had heard enough.  I wanted peace and quiet whenever possible.

That doubtless explains why I get fidgety and even nasty at times in restaurants, theatres and concert halls. when my code of silence is abused.  It's a losing battle.  Some people go to restaurants to eat; others,  to rudely let their kids dance on tables and race up and down the aisle.  The other night I heard more of the conversation in the next booth than in my own.  The woman cackled loudly to her friend about how  she was looking for in a new bedspread.  She liked color, but not too flashy. And she wanted something that would fit in nicely with the color scheme in the room.   "Why  aren't you talking to me," Nancy usually asks on these occasions.   "I can't hear you," I said.  "The woman in the next booth is looking for a bedspread."

At this point, I should add that some of the worst music that ever fell out of a CD bin is played loudly in a lot of "family" restaurants. Am I that old not to appreciate it? I ask myself.   I try to avoid these places  with only modest success. If you want to see me at my grumpiest, join me for lunch someday in one of these  trouble zones and watch me flush and pale.  .
The movie houses and concert halls are getting worse.  Inevitably seated behind me are people whose commentary is  a split second ahead of the plot or call out the names of the operas from which the arias are being sung by the soprano.  If you see a silhouette moving to the aisle during the film or  the tenor solo, it's probably me looking for a haven from these jerks.  If it wouldn't disturb civilized others in front of me, I would belt out: "For God's sake, SHUT UP."  (I've been known to use those words, but quietly. This, after all, is not my parents' dinner table.

At public performances, we are cautioned against using flash cameras and told to turn off our cell phones.  Might they add, "And shut up"?  I won't name names, gender or probable age.  But you must know who you are.   


Kyle said...

This post made me laugh, especially the second paragraph. Thank you.

Mencken said...

This is why 50 inch plasma televisions fly out of Best Buy every day.