(Note: this blog contains no spiritual or socially redeeming content. Discretion advised.)
This morning while cooking my breakfast, a cheese and ham omelette with sauteed green onions…, but I digress. While cooking breakfast, out of the blue, came a recollection from a few years ago. Valerie and I were season ticket holders to the Pacific Opera of Victoria, and we attended them all. One or two, we could have skipped, but that’s another matter. This night was memorable for what didn’t happen on stage and for the performance which was outstanding.
We had good seats in the balcony, close enough to the front row that we had a great view of the stage and good acoustics. We also had an excellent view of what was about to happen off-stage.
About ten minutes before the opera started, and with most people in their seats, a couple arrived and proceeded to their seats. They were seated about one-third of the way along from where we were and down a row or two. Instead of asking directions to their seats, the man went to the far end of the row and began to ask people to let him and his wife pass all the way down the row to their seats.
I don’t remember who said exactly what, but I do remember the man saying, “because I want to go this way.” His voice was loud enough that I think everyone within about fifty feet heard him. I did say the acoustics were good. Someone in his row had likely pointed out the obvious, but he was having none of it. I have a vague recollection that his wife followed meekly.
A question: why do folks attend an opera? The obvious answer would be that they are opera fans and enjoy that style of music. Or that they enjoy dressing up and attending an evening out. Or maybe they’re just pretentious and snooty. Not me, but maybe some of those other guys are. From my point of view, it’s a fun evening, if you get a good opera. I remember falling asleep in one. Text me and I'll tell you which one to avoid at all cost.
The rude fellow clearly wasn’t having any fun. I guessed that his wife coerced him into going, and he vowed he’d make her pay for it one way or the other, the way a cranky five-year-old might. If so, his plan was succeeding marvellously. I’m pretty sure it was something like that. Why else would you go out to a rather formal yet fun evening and act like a total jerk? Remember, it wasn’t 2020. This year any bizarre behaviour will be explained just by reminding ourselves when it happened. I am right about that, aren’t I? Works for me.
Back to the story: The man pushed his way two-thirds down the row to where the only two empty seats were located. It was a bit comical to watch. Do you remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon when Bugs tunnelled under Elmer Fudd’s carrot patch? As he did, the carrots started disappearing one after another, plop, plop, plop. Same thing, except instead of disappearing underground, folks popped up in slow motion, all the way down the row until the man and his wife were finally seated. Dwat that wabbit!
If that were the end of the story, it would be a momentary observation of some knuckle-head who was getting even for having to show up to an Italian melodrama where everything was sung in a foreign language. Or maybe he’d indulged a bit to take the edge off. Either way, once they were seated, you'd wonder how his wife got so lucky to find such a charmer. Then you'd go back to reading the program to see who was playing the role of Antonio the Butcher. I think that evening it was Figaro the Barber, and Rosina, the rich and beautiful ingenue.
But wonder of wonders, the off-stage drama was not yet finished. You see, about three minutes later, an usher squeezed along the same row to our man and his wife. After a few brief words, the couple stood and began to exit the row, but this time taking the simpler and faster way out. He was silent as a mouse. They were in the wrong seats it seems, and a lovely young couple stood at the end of the row waiting to take their rightful place.
To complete the humiliation, the usher checked the pair’s tickets while about four hundred people in the upper balcony watched. She pointed the couple toward two empty seats about three rows up in the upper balcony and about a third of the way from the end. I think I was convulsing as quietly as I could, so cannot give you a second-by-second description of the gauntlet they walked getting to their seats.
I did say that about four hundred or so in the upper balcony had a great view of the action. Our hero was as silent as can be yet wholly visible. His wife meekly followed. I can only wonder what transpired once they got home. It’s good that houses have walls with insulation.
I suppose I should quote something from first Corinthians thirteen about how love behaves. I'm confident Paul would not sanction laughing at a guy being publicly humiliated. So, I won't quote Paul. There's likely a fitting proverb, but here's mine instead.
Karma is not a beach in Mexico. It’s just a beach.
The opera was as good as you would imagine. I went home smiling and happy for a great night of entertainment.