Dear Mother Maple: can’t they shut up?
Dear Mother Maple: I’m not a musician. But I love music, and I want people who go to music festivals to shut the hell up when they’re watching someone play. How can I tell these ignoramuses to zip it without getting punched out?
My, you are a feisty one. But I understand why you feel that way, dear. If I’m listening to someone (like that Jonathan Byrd who was in the Woodshed this week), I want to listen. I blame the television. Once the idiot box got popular, people forgot two things: one, there’s a difference between a screen and reality, and two, you’re not always in your own living room. And those cellular telephones just made it worse. Now the kids are texting and recording and youtubeing and twittering — they’re missing the whole point! Or so it seems to me.
But that’s not what you asked, is it? Here are my rules for creating a cone of silence:
- If the talker has a leather vest and more than one tattoo, don’t risk it. If you need to know why, rent this.
- Excuse yourself, and politely say that you’re trying to listen to the performer, and that they might be missing something special.
- If they won’t get off their telephone, then begin to offer advice and contribute to their conversation. After all, they’re holding a conversation in public, so you should be welcome to chime in.
- If you’re in a formal venue, and nothing else works, then ask for assistance. If it’s something more like a festival, perhaps discretion is the better part of valour and you should move. Keep in mind, while their rudeness is an annoyance, a screaming match will annoy you — and others — even more.