Is Everybody In? Is Everybody In? The Ceremony is About to Begin.
I am a person who is not easily entertained. I’ve had little interest in TV since the 80’s and there are few movies that compel me to bring myself to the theatre. As for books, Elmore Leonard is dead and Barry Gifford has ceased writing novels in favor of negligibly entertaining short stories about a kid named Roy. Aside from pornography, the only thing that consistency provides enjoyment to me is music. Consequently I attend concerts on a fairly regular basis.
Going to shows is something to which I look forward with lots of anticipation during the period between when I purchase the tickets and when I finally arrive at the venue on the night of the show. Over the last few years, however, I’ve become increasingly irritated by the people I find surrounding me whenever I attend a concert. Perhaps I’ve gotten old before my time but, for God’s sake, can we please implement a law that forces people to stay in their fucking seats during a rock concert! That is, once the band hits the stage, the entrances are to be locked and anybody with a seat must sit their ass in it and stay in it for the duration of the show! If you’re the type of jackass who feels compelled to stand and gyrate like an idiot and make continuous trips to the beer stand and restroom then fine – buy tickets for the lawn section or the pit damnit! Honestly I cannot understand why anybody would pay extra money for a chair and spend the whole fucking show standing. But they do!
Anyway, a few weeks ago I attended a show by a band that has implemented a dress code for their latest tour. I was admittedly annoyed at first when I read the tickets and saw that formal attire or a costume was required, especially considering that it was an outdoor show and I live in part of the country that is typically pretty warm, if not unpleasantly hot, in April. The more I thought about it, however, the more I began to like the idea. People certainly didn’t go to see Sinatra at the Sands wearing a t-shirt and shorts so why should this show be any different? It’s about time people started becoming respectable again, I thought to myself. And surely somebody who takes the time to dress up isn’t going to spend the show acting like a fucking idiot. Now I wasn’t going to go overboard and rent a tuxedo or anything but I did put on a nice suit while my significant other wore a dress suitable for the type of cocktail party that the classy people who would be attending this show might throw. Or so I thought.
“I’m gonna beat you with my shoe,” she said to me upon looking around the venue. Out of an audience of around 18,000 people, we were two of approximately six individuals that actually dressed for the occasion. As for the other 17,994 people – tees, flip flops and sandals, beachwear, sweat pants. There were a few more tactful individuals in jeans, the more sophisticated of them wearing bowling shirts. In a most strange twist of irony, we who actually complied with the terms of our tickets looked like total fucking freaks among these uncouth savages who showed no regard for the band, their fellow audience members, or civilized society as a whole. At one point, while walking to our seats, I noticed a couple of white trash scuzzos looking at us snickering. I’m not sure what they were saying to each other but I imagined the word faggot being used to describe me. After all anybody who would comply with a dress code, much less own a suit that probably costs more than their combined salary from the KFC over the last three months, must be a gay homosexual. Okay, so the price of my suit probably wasn’t the best example to use when trying to invoke sarcasm but you get the point.
As the lights dimmed and the band took the stage, everybody rose from their seats (staying that way for the next few hours) and the moral degenerates sparked-up their joints. A few minutes earlier a couple of guys had taken their seats in front of us. One of them, a greasy haired and unshaven fellow in a neon orange shirt, struck me as particularly obnoxious. “There he is,” I said to my significant other, “the douche bag who’s going to ruin the show for us.”
“No he’s not,” she replied, “Stop being negative.”
I must admit, she was 100% right. When the show began I hardly even noticed his presence. I had prejudged. I had also committed the sin of assumption. Not with him but with assuming the empty seat to the right of me would stay empty. After all what else would I think a half hour in? Needless to say, the seat was not unsold. After five or six songs, a drunken neo-hippie jerk-wad wearing a tie-die t-shirt and a bandana on his head stumbled into the aisle and took his place standing in front of the seat next to me. Apparently he knew the people to the right of him as he chatted with them for a bit (and by chatting I mean screamed at the top of his lungs, so as to be heard over the music), had a drooly make-out session with a girl that was with them, then began dancing like a fucking idiot. Annoying as it was to be seeing this in the peripheral of my vision, it became nothing short of infuriating when he began dancing into my personal space. I should also mention that he had large can of what looked like beer but smelled like tequila that he held high above his head as he danced, causing it to spill down on him and everything in his proximity . This happened to include me every time he danced into that very narrow space between my body and the seat in front of me. Thoroughly annoyed, I searched my jacket pocket for a pen or some other sharp object with which to stab him but I found none. I began forcefully shoving him back into his own space every time his improvised choreography brought him into mine but, in his intoxicated state, he seemed to not even notice.
Do I take my belt off and strangle him with it? I thought to myself. No, they have the death penalty in this state and even if I had a decent lawyer the best I could hope for would be life in prison without parole. Maybe I should just punch him out. Yes, he was a lot bigger than me but he was also quite uncoordinated in his alcohol-and-whatever-else induced stupor. He had friends here though, or at least acquaintances. Of course they may well have been as irritated by him as I was and might actually help me kick his ass. Thinking it through (perhaps overly so), I saw myself throwing a punch, kicking his face as he laid on the ground bloodied and bruised, and having my ass dragged off to jail by the police. I then saw myself being called to the Human Resources Department at work and being told that they could not have somebody like me representing the company so they had no choice but to let me go. Then I saw myself answering the door and being served with papers indicating that I was to be the defendant in a multi-million dollar lawsuit seeking to compensate that loathsome sonovabitch for the pain, suffering, and post traumatic stress disorder I caused him. And so I pussied-out and tried to enjoy the show to the best of my ability. Overall it was a good show, one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. If only I could have painfully murdered that motherfucker next to me without legal consequences. Then a perfect night it would have been.