Sunday, July 11, 2004


At a concert with A. This is an outdoor show and there is a lawn where people have gathered hours before show-time with full picnic sets. Some have plastic containers open on a table sheet, some have all the amenities of an outdoor restaurant: chairs with cup holders, wine cooler, real cutlery.
A. is a friend of some of the people performing tonight, so we came to see the concert and maybe hang out with them after the show. He has taken seats inside the concert hall which looks, as he observes, like an oversized mountain chalet.

We are seating in the boxes above the orchestra. Surrounded by empty seats, we decide, after the intermission, to go down a couple of seats to get a better view of the next act, the one A. really wanted to see: An adaptation of "Swan's lake" created by one of his friends. At the end of the piece we are confronted by angry people. One usher and the people whose seats we took. The people are just asking us to leave so that they can sit down. One of the woman explained that they came late only to see that someone had taken their seats and had to stay two rows behind. We are still clapping and our motion to exit is slower than they expected. The usher is beyond herself. She has her arms crossed in front of her and is ordering me "Show me your tickets! Show me your tickets!". I smile. We surely have done something wrong but nothing that would call for such an extreme reaction. I slowly raise from my seat, smiling and trying to calm her down. "Relax" I tell her "It's not such a big deal". That is a mistake. The woman is ready to explode. We go back two rows to our official seats. The last piece starts. It's a short, flashy piece, the epitome of "pop classical". Not my taste.

After the show, we discuss the reaction of the usher. How she was upset that such thing would (could?) have happened under her watch, in her section of the concert hall. In her view, ours was a crime that should have been punished more extensively. 20 years in the gallows. At a minimum. Our society is getting too soft.