Before we get started, I’d like to say that I believe her mother is the one who ruined her night, but I’m certain this girl thinks I’m the one who ruined her night. So I’ll leave it for you to decide if i’m the villain or the hero in this story.
I went to a concert at a small theater – it’s two stories, with the entire bottom floor open for standing room only, and then the top floor is much smaller and all seating. I wait in line for what feels like forever to get into the venue, then immediately run upstairs to grab a seat in the balcony.
I choose the balcony because I am an adult, this concert is already starting past my bedtime, and I am about four years removed from wanting to stand on a slightly slanted hardwood floor in heels for hours on end (I didn’t even have my foot spray), and be in the background of thousands of teens’ Instagram live videos.
With seats acquired in the balcony, everyone can relax. We got there early enough that we’re in the second row of the balcony and the entire place is starting to fill up.
We’ve got about 30 minutes until the opening act starts, and the place is already packed – all the standing room on the ground is full, and all the empty space behind the seats in the balcony is filled with people standing. We are told by an usher it’s a sold-out show. The crowd has great energy and the show hasn’t even started.
The opening act starts. It goes well. Everyone is enjoying themselves. The main act comes on and everyone loses their minds. It’s Dan + Shay, and their main audience is comprised of young girls who have the ability to scream loud enough to literally make the walls shake.
But it’s fun, and they’re unbelievably talented and entertaining, and everyone is having a great time. Until…
Here’s where you decide if I was in the right, or if I’m a totally awful person. It really could go either way.
So there are three sections in the balcony seating area, divided by two rows. A left section, a middle section, and a right section (obviously.) The left section pretty much is entirely standing the moment Dan + Shay step onto the stage. The middle section is mixed – some people are standing and dancing, while others remain seated.
And then there’s our section, the third section, in which everyone is still sitting. Since I was in the second row, I turned around and looked – everyone has remained seated. And usually when an entire section remains seated, it’s because that’s what they wanted to do to begin with; when an entire section is standing it’s because the people in front of them are standing and they have to stand in order to see.
So anyway, around the third or fourth song into Dan + Shay’s set, one of the people directly in front of me stands up. So this would be the person sitting in the very front row of this section, dead center. She starts dancing, and my view is literally just her butt shaking around, less than 2 feet in front of my face.
Okay then. So I kinda lean over a little so I can see around her. This only lasts for a song or two before she leans over and starts pulling – literally pulling on the arm of the girl sitting next to her, who keeps shaking her head no, she doesn’t want to stand up. She even motions behind her, to all of the people sitting behind her (me and 49 other people) as she shakes her head no. Her eyes remain on her cell phone in her hands the whole time, clearly not caring about the concert.
The standing woman keeps beckoning her to stand. Finally she stands, crosses her arms, and hunches in on herself. It is now, when I cannot see anything at all, nor can the next five rows behind me, that I realize this is a mother/daughter combo and the daughter does not want to be here. The mother is doing everything she can to get this girl to enjoy herself and get off her phone, and getting her to stand and dance is just one step in this process.
Okay. Fair enough. I also enjoy standing and dancing at shows, but I don’t do it when I’m in the front row in front of everyone. But that’s fine, maybe this is jut their favorite song or something.
After about 3 songs of both of them standing – one dancing, one hating it – it’s clear the mom intends for them to stand the entire show. People around us are getting a little grumbly because there’s a ton of standing room in this venue – remember, the ENTIRE BOTTOM FLOOR IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO STAND – and they’re choosing instead to block an entire section of people’s view. Considerate, no?
The woman next to me, who told me before the show started that she brought her teenage daughter and her friends and dropped them off on the bottom floor before retreating to the comfort of upstairs seating, finds this behavior ridiculous. She makes a big show of asking the people behind us if they can see (they can’t,) and asking me if I can see (no.) So she leans forward, taps lightly on the mother’s arm, and politely tells her she’s blocking everyone’s view.
What follows is an exact transcript of the conversation, because I really can’t believe how rude she was.
Woman next to me: “Excuse me, we can’t see.”
Woman in front of me: “I know.”
She shrugs and goes back to looking at the stage. The daughter turns around, sees my shell-shocked expression that another human would be this intentionally rude, and yanks at her mother’s sleeve.
This makes the mom turn around, glare at me and fall back on the argument rude people have used since the beginning of time, “I paid for this show, so I’m going to enjoy it.” I counter with, “So did all of these people,” and wave at the collection of people who are really enjoying their view of her back.
She doesn’t have a response to this and rolls her eyes. Then the daughter sits down since she didn’t want to stand in the first place, yanks out her phone, and starts scrolling through Snaps.
The mother sees this, turns around to me, and yells, “I hope you’re happy!”
So I guess in the last thirty seconds I somehow ruined their night? I really don’t know how I got myself into this position at this point, yet here I am. So I simply say, “There are a ton of places to stand,” and nod towards the floor – which has a considerably better view than where she’s standing – but considering her reaction, I suppose she heard me suggesting she should jump off the nearest cliff.
Well, she’s the one who came out of the gate swinging. Come on, man. It takes a while to get riled up, and if you start a conversation with fighting words, that means you’re already expecting a fight. Following a little if/then logic, doesn’t that mean you know you’re doing something that would perhaps cause conflict? Basically, that means you know you’re in the wrong.
Additionally, as you said in your own words, if you “know” that you’re blocking people’s view, that means you have chosen to not care. Which means why do you care now that it’s been pointed out to you? If you didn’t care before, why do you care now? Just simply go on with standing in front of everyone.
(If you feel like I’m sounding really lawyery here, it’s because I’ve been watching a lot of Suits.)
The rest of the concert goes by with the mom and daughter turning to glare at me between every song. The daughter handles the whole situation admirably – by staring at her phone the entire show, not even looking at the stage or singing a single word, and taking Snapchats of the back of her hand so the image is just solid black with captions like “I hate my life” and “This sux.”
When Dan + Shay ask the crowd to get on their feet for the encore stand and we comply – because everyone in our section was already standing for the final song – I am on the receiving end of a glare that burns with the fire of a thousand suns, and I’m unbelievably thankful I don’t have a teenage daughter.