Last night I went to a performance of The Vagina Monologues. I had wanted to see it for years, so signed up for a Meet-Up, which usually means I have people to sit with and reserved seats to sit in, but when I got there, the reception people had never heard of a Meet-Up and my name wasn’t on the list. I could still get in, but had to sit at the back, which was populated with very young people. I perched on the armrest of a chair from which I could just barely see the stage between the shoulders of the people seated at the bar.
Sadly, young people have the attention span of goldfish. Before half of the performance was over, most of them were nattering away at each other. Two young women in front of me in particular seemed to have a lot to say. I struggled to hear the performers over their chatter. I tried to be patient. The generous part of me thought maybe they were close friends who hadn’t seen each other in a while and needed to catch up. But then one of them turned her head far enough for me to hear what she was saying.
“So do you use gel to make your hair so fluffy?”
“Yes, I do. I use gel.”
All right. SHUT THE FUCK UP!
…is what I wanted to say, but instead I stepped toward them and said, quietly, “Do you think you could talk about that later?” And shut up they did. But the nattering continued throughout the venue and the rest of the show.
During the intermission, a young guy, fresh out of college, showed me an app he’d written for smart phones. It was for house cleaning. You can tap on various tasks and the app will send someone to your house to do them, while displaying how much it will cost. He was very proud. But then I asked how he found people to do the actual work. He said, “Yeah, that’s the hard part. I thought you could help me with that.”
Oh, sure! My life is jam packed with people who are eager to go clean other people’s toilets. I have to beat them away from my front door with a stick. In fact, that’s one of the most popular part time jobs among both Japanese and foreigners. But if you think I’m giving up my army of sanitation engineers to some snotty nosed kid, you’ve got another thing coming.
OK, I didn’t say that. But fortunately, intermission ended just then and I had to leave before the next act was over. With luck, I’ll never see the silly git again. Leave it to a young person to come up with something so utterly impractical.
The whole experience left me feeling flat-out alienated. Granted, the performance was in a bar, but even so, is the audience not generally expected to sit quietly and listen? Is that not why we went? And it was more than just the noise; it was the sense of entitlement, of self-conscious self-importance. “Look how cool I am. I came to see The Vagina Monologues. It doesn’t matter that I’m not listening because I am here.”
Grrr. I will leave you with some sleeping ducks, because they are peace and beauty, and also because maybe if I stare at them long enough, my own feathers will unruffle.