Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you were Mets fans

Since we're on a heartalicious theme, and since I had some time in the past few days to write a few blogs that I can now edit and publish, here is my Valentine's Day story.

This year I had a very lovely Valentine’s day… with one exception. I had a date with my friend Hayley, who is such a lovely person and I so rarely get to hang out with her one-on-one, given the small (ok, large) entourage that is in tow anytime anyone in my group of friends decides to do something. So dinner and a concert at Carnegie sounded like a perfect anti-Valentines Valentine’s date.

We have dinner at a great sushi place in midtown (Sushiya- inexpensive and yummy), and as we leave get some of their tasty after-dinner mints. Like, the good ones. Both of them. Not only do they have the yummy pastel colored buttermints but they ALSO have the chocolatey little mints that come in orange, yellow, blue, and pink. The best. I took 2 spoonfuls of each. Excessive? I think not.

We walk the 5 minutes to Carnegie, climb the bajillion stairs up to our seats (though this batch of season tickets isn’t all the way in the nosebleeds), sit down, chat a bit, and the show begins. Joshua Bell and Jeremy Denk. If you don’t know who Joshua Bell is, you should. He’s only the most famous violinist of our time. AND he’s white. And like 12. No, I kid. At least about the 12 part, he’s definitely a white accomplished violinist. Not that that’s the reason I went to see him. But anyhow. Andrew Denk is a pianist, I don’t know him, maybe I should, but I don’t. Joshua was clearly the main attraction here, but I’m always game for a little violin/piano duet awesomeness. He plays Prokofiev, he plays Dvorak, he plays Grieg (and by he I of course mean they). It’s great. Like the kind of great that makes you fall asleep. I always think that’s the mark of a great classical concert. If I feel like I’m going to fall off into a dreamy twilight of Mozarty bliss, you have done your job.

The concert ends, we clap. As audiences tend to do when a concert ends. It’s a nearly sold out show, but by no means a particularly enthusiastic audience. Your average unimpressible Thursday night New York crowd. Hayley and I, both being musicians and both appreciating that it is important to stand when you appreciate good music, give little Mr. Bell a standing ovation as he’s doing his multiple bow-go offstage-come back on-bow-rinse-repeat routine. Some people are standing, some people are sitting applauding, all are waiting for him to do his encore. After all, he HAS to do an encore, it’s Carnegie. Obvi. Round 67 of this he decides he’s going to give an encore and so we sit ourselves back down into our seats. At which point the following “conversation” ensues:

Older lady behind us (OLBU), in a scoffing tone- Well Thank You. (I don’t even know how to write this to convey the tone here- italics don’t justify the emphasis properly, not does caps or underlined. It was just that disdainful tone that only a self-important New Yorker can command. Her age and sex may have added to the ability as well)
Hayley: I’m sorry?
OLBU- I couldn’t SEE. Scoff It’s not a BASEBALL game you know.
Hayley (clearly flustered and confused and offended): I’m sorry, but we were giving a standing ovation to an excellent performance and he wasn’t DOING anything that we would be blocking…

Just at this point his encore starts so Hayley is cut off before anything further can be said by either party. Oh, but now I’m mad. True to form I am utterly aghast that someone would have such a sense of entitlement and be so arrogant and disrespectful all in one utterance. Has this woman ever BEEN to a classical performance? Who does she even think she is to say something so absurd? This dude just played his heart out and poured all of himself into this music for 2+ hours and you can’t even bother to get your sorry ass out of your chair for 2 minutes to show your appreciation? And you know what, if that was even it, fine. Maybe you have arthritis. Or maybe you thought he sucked. Fine. But don’t go raining on my sweet Valentine’s parade with your passive aggressive “This isn’t a baseball game” commentary.

This woman has effectively ruined the encore for me. I literally do not even remember what he was playing because my memory is consumed with all of the aforementioned thoughts as I was trying to work out my anger at this lady. I know, I KNOW, it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t care. I can’t choose how other people act but I can choose how to respond. Right, I know. That is why I have a blog. Because honestly, it took every ounce of respect-for-my-elders that was instilled by my parents (thanks!) to not turn around and make some snide comment after Joshy was done playing and we were leaving. Oh right, after his TWO encores, thank you VERY much. Oh, but apparently it wasn’t enough for them, because as they leave, the husband gives me this look as if I am the black spots of old nasty gum and grime dotting a New York City sidewalk. Thanks, real mature, sir. Because you know what, I guess you point may be valid and perhaps we were confused… we misread a performance by “Joshua Bell” and thought it was former Mets player Derek Bell. Oops. My bad.

But, aside from this little incident (which I just have to blow up into a larger one, because that's what bloggers do, right?), the night was lovely. I just felt the need to turn 5 minutes of a 3 hour evening into 5 paragraphs of self-absorbed commentary. Clearly a mature response. In any event, my anti-Valentines Valentine's day was not one I will soon forget. Thanks Hayley, you're the best Valentine a gal could ask for.

1 comment:

preethi said...

I...um...what??? I am sincerely at a loss. That is the most absurd thing I've ever heard in my entire life. And I live in Philadelphia. Wow.

Glad you had an awesome time x the ridiculousness. Yay for J. Bell.