Look. We’ve all been there. We’ve all been somewhere we didn’t necessarily want to be. We’ve all been young and stupid and too smart-assy for our own good. We’ve all been young rebels who laugh at how idiotic everything is. We’ve all felt uncomfortable somewhere and, rather than explore that discomfort, we have chosen to protect ourselves by trying to look aloof. Especially as young people. We’ve all been there.
I know I looked lame last night when I kept staring at you, slack-jawed in amazement at your total disregard for your surroundings. I know I must have seemed as old as the actual old lady sitting in front of me who was incredibly distracted by the light from your screens, the tap tap tap of your manicured nails as you texted, and your painfully audible “whispers” filled with eyeroll-worthy content. I know I must have seemed just as uncool as the moms who had brought a large group of little girls and boys to what might have been their first symphony concert, who unfortunately had to put up with you sitting behind them. Yup, I might seem like all of those things, even though I’m pretty sure I’m only a few years your senior.
Ladies, I’m here to tell you I get you. Hell, in other situations I probably was you. But, because you were too absorbed in Snapchatting parts of the concert, texting whoever the hell you were texting, and scrolling through goddamned Pinterest, let me give you a brief rundown of what you missed.
You missed the opportunity to sit in communion with hundreds of your fellow human beings for two hours. You missed the chance to simultaneously take in the same information as them and respond to it based on your own life experience. You missed the chance to have the path of your life and the paths of all of their lives sync up for two short hours.
You missed the chance to be alone with your thoughts for a little while. Performances don’t have exams at the end, and while active listening will get you more bang for your buck, I also find that I’ve done some of my best personal reflection while in an audience. Being bored is a good thing. Checking out for a few minutes is fine. For godssake, take the opportunity to let your mind wander once in a while, unprodded by Instagram sponsorships and friend drama.
Finally, you missed out on two hours of opportunities to feel something. Look, you weren’t even encountering high art to grapple with. It was two hours of music from classic ballets with guest professional dancers. It was so easy. You’re young women, and from what I remember about being a young(er) woman, there’s probably a lot of shit going down in your life right now. If you had just listened and allowed yourself to be moved, perhaps even a tiny bit of that emotional insight could have helped you IRL. And wouldn’t that have been worth it? Would you pay two hours of otherwise wasted time for that kind of return?
So Ladies of the Almost Back Row, I’m sorry you weren’t feeling the concert last night. And I’m sorry for whatever friend in the ballet company probably gave you the tickets, because you were pretty shitty audience members and pretty shitty friends by extension.
But most of all, I’m sorry you missed out. Really, I am.