Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where were you people raised?!?!

I thought I lived in a suburban community of middle-class folks in middle-class houses.

Alas, it has come to my attention that this city is simply full of barns.

"Barns?" you say. "PC, you live in a bedroom community of Huntsville. Y’all aren’t allowed to keep livestock within the city limits."

Yeah, well, I’m now convinced that the 500+ people I spent Saturday morning with were all raised in barns. They may be pretty-looking and expensive barns, but for all intents and purposes, this is Barn City and everyone acts like it.

My rant stems from AC’s dance recital, held Saturday morning. Several hundred children and their parents, siblings, grandparents, and extended ‘come-here’ family members gathered to watch the little angels dance. I thought I was going to your basic dance recital—tutus, tap shoes—but I was sadly mistaken.

There were cell phone issues of course, which I will refrain from ranting about beyond saying that unless you are awaiting a liver transplant and must be reachable at any second, turn the damn thing off. There were the parents with their video cameras blocking the aisles and everyone’s view as they jockeyed for position. (You know, the dance studio is selling DVDs of the recital for a reasonable price. Buy one of those instead.) There were the parents who roped off ROWS of 15-20 seats for their families—families who couldn’t be bothered to show up on time and waited until the house lights went down to try to come in. This, of course, prompted MORE cell phone usage, with the lovely addition of those sitting in the seats standing up and waving their arms so they could be found. That’s okay, I didn’t want to see that part of the show anyway. There was the lady behind us that kept whacking DG in the head with the ENORMOUS bouquet of flowers she brought for her lil’ punkin (who you would have thought was dancing the Black Swan solo instead of being third from the left in “Wheels on the Bus”).

Spare me from the etiquette problems of others.

But that’s not what had me questioning the zoning laws of my fair city. Somehow, these Barn Dwellers mistook a dance recital for a soccer game. Or a NASCAR race. Some sporting event instead of the dance recital it was advertised to be.

Picture this—seventeen little girls in pink tutus file on to stage. The stage lights come up, and the darlings are blinking in shock at the size of the stage and the brightness of the lights. Then, from the darkness of the audience comes: “GO SARAH!!!” “WHOOO HOOOO!!! YAY MADDIE!!!” "YOU GO GRACIE!!! YEAH!!" This continues until the music starts.

First of all, the kids can’t see into the audience. This is noise coming out of a black hole. Of course, they’re trying to figure out where Daddy is, and end up missing their music cue. Or, better yet, it scares the bejeesus out of them and they burst into tears.

But that aside, am I the only person left who sees the inappropriateness of hootin’ and hollerin’ during a dance performance? That kind of carrying on is appropriate in certain places—the ball field comes to mind—but this isn’t a sporting event. There are finer rules of etiquette in place for events that take place in the theater. Appreciation for the dancers is shown by sitting quietly and attentively while they are dancing and applauding nicely (even enthusiastically) when they are finished.

What’s next? Cow bells and air horns? Rabid mom-fans rushing the stage and flinging flowers? Turning the orchestra pit into a mosh pit?

I’m all for encouraging children and showing how proud you are of their accomplishments. I’m also for teaching them that there’s a time and a place for everything. I’m for teaching them that different situations have different standards of expected and acceptable behavior. I’m for teaching them about inside and outside voices—and outside voices only belong inside during basketball games, rock concerts, and when someone is on fire.

I know DG and Mom are with me on this one. How about you? Are we in a minority here?



Rhonda said...

Not at all. Hollering at a dance recital is just bad form.

Angel said...

This drives me crazy! I just cringe inside when someone's phone rings or they can't act properly.

Luckily, we won't have to deal with the video camera thing, because they are banned from our dance recital. Of course, even my husband, who is far from stingy, cringed at the $43 price of the recital DVDs.

Instigator said...

Hey! I have a barn. Of course my kids aren't raised in it... :-)

I agree, it's bad form to yell, scream, and otherwise make an ass of yourself inside a theater. Some people just don't get it. Kinda makes me sad.


Playground Monitor said...

Just wait until high school graduation. The barn people attend that too and I think they dress some of them up as graduates and put them in the student seats.

When #1 son graduated everyone was sweating bullets because of something that happened a few days before. Because there are multiple high schools and they all use the Civic Center for the cermonies, they have the ceremonies over the course of several days. A day or two before #1's ceremony, some boy mooned the audience (and had his diploma withheld because of it). So we were all wondering what might happen with #1's class. Other than beach balls being tossed about and the usual hootin' and hollerin' it went off without a hitch.

Don't get me started on the cell phone thing.


Maven Linda said...

Did y'all know you can buy a gadget that blocks all cell phone calls within a certain radius, like a restaurant or a theater?

Just thought you might like to know :-)


MathCogIdiocy said...

A friend sent the link to this blog. I'm LMAO here picturing these people at the Metropolitan Opera.

But what really got to me was the cell phone thing. Can we say bad manners and inconsiderate in the exteme? During my college graduation, the student sitting next to me spent the whole ceremony on her cell phone talking to her mother who was there! I almost graduated to jail.

Maureen said...

To me, it's all about manners and the best way to teach them to your kids is by demonstrating them.

Angel said...

OMG! It's bad enough when the cell phones are in the audience, but one of the students!?!? That's totally inconsiderate.

I think this lack of respect has also spread to the clothing issue. Very few people dress up for things anymore. You go to a play at the theater and people are there in jeans! For goodness sakes, at least graduate to khakis.

Playground Monitor said...

I think this lack of respect has also spread to the clothing issue.

I just read an article about businesses that are going back to coats and ties/dresses and suits for their employees because it seems the casual approach to dress has resulted in a casual approach to the quality of their work.

Casual Friday was introduced back in the early 90's when I was still working. And compared to today, we were still pretty darned dressed up on Fridays. As the years passed, casual Friday spread to Monday through Thursday and it wasn't long before some folks were really pushing the envelope.

I really do appreciate that my husband doesn't have to wear suits to work anymore and I don't have 5 white shirts to starch and iron, but he does maintain a strong sense of decorum and wear nice slacks and button-up or polo shirts. Even on Friday, his jeans are neat. Heck, the man has a pair of motorcycle boots that look better than some folk's regular shoes. He's much more of a clothes horse than I am. But I do know the appropriate place for casual and when you should dress up.

Cell phone blocking gadget???? I want one!!!!


catslady said...

It only gets worse. Besides the cell phones and movie cameras, (and yes the flower arrangements for really inappropriate times that only makes the other kids feel bad), are the mothers (and I always blame them lol) who spend hundreds of dollars on dresses/hair/nails/shoes/purse for a dance without partners in the school gym. please...by the time they go to the prom there's no way you can keep up.

Problem Child said...

MathCogIdiocy: yeah, one of these days I'm going to end up in big trouble because I just get so fed up with people.

maureen and catslady: You're 100% right. Sadly, these poor kids aren't being taught better behavior. They're growing up with very skewed views of the world...

And let me say for the record: I adore my cell phone. ADORE IT. Yet I am able to turn it off--or at least to vibrate!

Smarty Pants said...

Heathens. I never had a dance recital or whatever, but I was in choir and the parents did, on occasion, yell something silly. My graduation was marred by the (at the time) newly popular "raise the roof" gesture. At my friend's graduation that same year (her school was 5 times the size of mine) it was even more prevalent, with people down on the floor carrying on and dancing when their friend crossed the stage like they were possessed, yelling and waving their arms.

I will have to admit that at my graduation, there was the occasional burst of yelling a name, kids with nicknames or whatever (we had one guy who you always yelled "Pete!" when he came in the room like Norm on Cheers) but it was the students, not the parents. And of course, I was stuck sitting on stage so I had to be perfectly well behaved.

At my mom's graduation from high school, they faced the entire graduating class toward the audience. Apparently they had problems with students partaking of some herbal refreshment during the cermony the year before. Ahh, the 70s....

Anonymous said...

Everything is going to the dogs. I agree. At one of my kid's high school graduation, it was outside at the football stadium, people brought lawn chairs and sat on the field in shorts and halter tops-these were parents. Someone even had their dog on a leash who kept barking and defecating on the field. I shudder to think about how it would be if we didn't live in a dry county. Coolers full of beer? Heidi