One thought ahead. Two sentences behind.

Not Cool – Crowds

I was at a concert waiting for the band to take the stage. My friend, Vu, who runs the website, WeHeartMusic had a comp + 1, which in industry speak means I got in free.

It was a sold out show at the Cedar Culture Center and the crowd was already packed. Sooner or later the band would appear, but at the moment I was listening to the guy next to me complain to his friend about how much he hated crowds.

I didn’t understand the complaint. I understood that someone could like music and not like crowds, but I didn’t understand why the person would proceed to put the two together. If coming into contact with a group of strangers was a phobia, why was this guy standing in the middle of a crowd of a sold-out show? Why wasn’t he standing along the back wall, or in the lobby or at home in his kitchen listening to the album in his underwear? His whole argument made as much sense as me complaining about how much I hated being wet while walking through a carwash.

I didn’t give the guy much more thought when the band started playing and the crowd began to sway. But it didn’t take long for the crowd to move me right into the guy who gave a quick jab to my ribs with his left elbow. It was more of a warning than a punch, much like a dog that nips before it bites.

I decided to give the guy some space, because I am partial to pain-free breathing. I backed up and gave the guy some room. I gave him so much space it allowed another person to slip right in front of me.

In a sea filled with college students, West Bank Hippies, North East Hipsters and West African Immigrants, a grey-haired Poster Child for AARP somehow sauntered through the crowd. A woman, old enough to be my grandma, plopped in right front of me and started dancing like she was a one-person conga line. She absolutely cut, but it did not ruin the moment. She was half my size with her head align with the guy’s left elbow, which he kept tight to his chest, for knocking a grandma in the head is a little different then jabbing a guy in the ribs.

The music picked up and everything was grooving until a college student stepped in front of me.

Apparently, the tiny senior bobbing in front of me was not enough to create the appearance of a filled space. So the college student wedged herself in between me and the senior. And once she established herself in the tight spot, she turned around to her friend to join her in a spot that wasn’t even there.

If you want an example of rude, this is it; not that the college student cut in front of me at a concert. This happens all the time. The rudeness came in the fact that she didn’t even acknowledge me even though I was four inches from her nose.

Eventually, I became leery of the girl’s runny nose and glassy eyes and eased even further to let her friend join.

At one point I was standing near Vu who was in the first row taking pictures of the band. By the fourth song I was five rows back with no guaranty that I wouldn’t be pushed to the back wall where the jerk who started it all should have been. My only consolation was the girl who didn’t care about anybody around her was standing next to the guy who didn’t want anybody there.

I have a firm belief that when idiots congregate, conflict will abound. And it didn’t take more than a half note for the two nitwits go at it.   It happened when the college girl continued to talk to her friend even though the lead singer of Egypt 80, Seun Kuti, decided to stop singing and start into sermon/diatribe/pep-talk.

I don’t understand why people go to concerts and proceed to act like they aren’t at a concert. One show I attended a group of teenage girls turned their backs to the band and proceeded to take endless group photos of themselves. It became so distracting the lead singer felt compelled to duck down into some of the photos to remind the girls, “Hey, I’m singing!”

Kuti wasn’t singing. At the moment he was making an impassioned point about the dysfunctional political cronyism that was ruining his native Nigeria. But the college girl standing in front of me wasn’t hearing any of it because of her own yammering until Elbows told her to “She the ______ Up!”

From that point an argument broke out between the two as to who was the ruder person. I don’t think it even dawned on either party they could both share first prize.

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