Thursday, January 17, 2008

Strike up the Band

I went to my two oldest kids' band concert tonight. I got there really early and found a seat at the top of the bleachers. That's where the seasoned parents sit because we know the wall can be used as a seat back and even though your butt still goes numb from sitting on the hard wood for a couple hours, you have something to lean against. So I'm sitting there watching parents and other relatives come in and find seats. The gymnasium is nearly empty, open seats everywhere, and yet this family came in, walked up the bleachers and sat down right on top of me. Why? Why do people do this? There are two thousand empty seats, but they feel the need to invade my personal space. This irritates me. These are the kind of people who get three inches from your face while talking to you; assaulting your face with little sprays of spit. "This is YOUR dance space and this is MY dance space." Now back off!!!

I scooted over and set my camera down next to me, lest someone else come along and sit on my lap. Do you think the camera deterred the next "clueless personal space" person who came along? Nope. A man and his two year old son sat down next to me. I glanced at the little boy and smiled as he stuck his finger up his nose. Charming. The next time I looked over at him, he was using the very same finger he'd just shoved, knuckle-deep into his nasal passages, to touch my camera still sitting on the seat beside me. He looked up at me and I swear I heard him say, "Ha ha ha-ha-ha!" Gee thanks, kid.

So I scootched over a little more and watched the clock, waiting for the concert to begin. Before long, I was surrounded by spectators and the smell of old lady perfume (you know the really stinky flower kind), wet dog, stale smoke, and good old fashioned B.O. filled my nostrils. Had I been pregnant, I would surely have thrown up right then and there.

Finally the musicians filed in and took their seats. They began playing their numbers and I forgot about the annoying people around me. Both bands sounded really good actually. A little different than when they first started playing their instruments. They'd play a song and with a proud smile, inquire, "Did you like that? Do you know what song that was?"
Ummm Row, Row, Row Your Boat?
Nope.
Uhhh, Frère Jacques?
Huh uh.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?
No Mom. It's the theme from Harry Potter! Didn't you recognize it?
Ummm yeah. Oh yeah. That was going to be my next guess!

Anyway, somewhere in the middle of the concert I noticed the little boy who had been sitting next to me was now four rows down, taking close-up, flash pictures; blinding the poor kid sitting next to him. His father was still at the top of the bleachers, seemingly oblivious that his two year old had moved on to bigger and better things.
Say cheese! flash
Say cheese! flash
Say cheese! flash
Yeah, that never gets old.

Sitting on the bleachers for the concert reminded me that baseball season is looming ahead. Then the real fun starts. Four kids playing ball at different fields across town at the same time. I know I'm looking forward to that.

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55 comments:

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

You are definitely a better mom than me. I hate attending those things, and will only do so with some knitting in hand. And 4 kids playing sports at once? We've never even tried it. Even with 2 playing soccer, I found it sort of challenging to be in 2 places at the same time. And the younger kids spent their entire Saturday mornings being carted around from field to field and eating granola bars. They gained weight, I swear.

Fay said...

Oh gosh! I thought you were going to say that booger-boy was using *your* camera 4 rows down!

Glad you atleast enjoyed the music.

Kalynne Pudner said...

I think like Fay...was gonna ask, "Was it your camera?"

We did the multiple sports thing. Oh, lord, yes. One night it was SOOO BAD that I came home and wrote about it -- and this was before my blogging days. Tried to sell it to Family Fun but they judged that it wasn't very.

As soon as I started blogging, I posted it, as a long way of saying, "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here."

http://phdwithninekids.blogspot.com/2007/12/gps-for-parents-of-very-busy-children.html

Manic Mom said...

OMG, I was going to type the EXACT same thing that Fay just typed! Hahahah! So I won't, but that's exactly what I THOUGHT! Booger-kid. blah.

Last year my three kids all did baseball/softball and they all played the same day: Tues/Th. and since I can't triple-clone myself, it was a disaster, as I'm sure your springs are!

This year, I'm THRILLED to know they all have no interested in playing!!!

STRIKE UP THE BAND FOR ME ON THAT ONE!

How are your points going??? I'm dying for WW to have another No-Points Day on the calendar!

Sarah said...

I also thought you were going to say the little boy was using your camera! Glad to hear he had his own camera to booger up.

Deb in OPKS said...

We haven't had our concert yet. Last year my husband and I nearly died when we heard the first few notes of the 5th grade band. It was awful! But then they quickly got in sync and they were actually pretty good.

When I was a kid I was going to play my brother's trumpet so I tried playing along to the CHiPs theme when it was coming on. My brother told me I stunk in a way only a brother can. I ended up with the clarinet.

VanDerHoekArt said...

Good to know where the best seats in the bleachers are. Thanks for the tip! I'll be sure to bring wipes in case I run into any booger-boys.

sixpackmommy said...

why do people feel the incesint need to invade your space? it's like there is this magnet inside of them forcing them closer and closer. and they always have uncontrollable spit issues! i just want to shout, "good gravy people! don't you know it's cold and flu season?! and don't you know there is an invisible box drawn all the way around me in which you are not allowed to enter? get out or risk losing the offending body part to the crazy screaming woman!" now is only my six kids, their friends, and the friends parents would only listen to me...

Lucille said...

OH I feel so so smart that I knew to sit on the bleachers so early on in the school performances! I have a bad back so to me it always made sense.

I hear ya on the people that I refer to as SPACE INVADERS - I actually wrote about them a few months ago on my blog....check it out if you have time as I'm sure you'd get a chuckle from it!

Hope you were able to de-booger your camera bag!

www.whosgoingtotellyou.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I'm with ya, Dawn, on the space invaders. It's to the point now that I won't even go to the movie theater. Along with people sitting on top of you, there are those who feel free to talk during the entire movie as though they are sitting in their own living rooms. So I just stay in my own living room. Good thing we have DISH network and a slew of dvds.

My husband's pet peeve is the people who stand around and block space so much you can't walk by them. He's especially fun to be with in a crowded mall or the airport. His mantra is, "Don't these people have any spacial awareness?" Um, no, honey. Some people don't. He's from North Dakota so a big space bubble is to be expected.

My dream trip is to take him to New York City. He'll have to undergo some serious retraining on the whole spacial awareness issue if he's to survive there...

Sandy in Tucson

Sharon said...

Hahaha....the people that attend our church must have been in attendance at that concert...I thought the same thing as Fay too, that the little snot had taken off with your camera. Glad the music was at least pleasant, even if the company wasn't.

theycallmepat said...

Am I the only one leaving this page with a dreamy smile on my face and Patrick Swayze on my mind...? Thanks Dawn, I needed that!

deannascraps said...

As you can see, a lot of us feel your pain! Attending my dd's graduation commemcement at the local community college, the gym was packed! Some people were coming our way having seen someone they knew just behind us. I and my other dd stood up so they would have an easier time passing us without sticking their behinds in our faces. Instead of passing they TOOK our seats! And they wouldn't move! We ended up standing.

Kathi S. said...

Dawn, i think the "personal space" rule went out the door with the "don't wear your hat indoors" rule and the "stand up during the National Anthem" rule.

I'm a high school teacher and I noticed that my students don't observe the "personal space" rule. They get in my face to ask me a question, shove their paper in front on my face and always interupts me when I'm talking with another student. They think they are the most important student in that classroom and that I should drop everything and help them!

Karen said...

I am a personal space freak. It's gotta be an arm's length to feel comfortable. I would have been seriously annoyed, too.

Kim said...

Yes, I am so looking forward to spring when soccer, motocross and gymnastics start/continue. How to finess 2 in soccer one in gymnastics and then off to motocross races all over the state every weekend for my two boys and husband. Ugh.

Rick said...

What instruments do your children play?

http://organizeddoodles.blogspot.com/

Brenda said...

Then you will enjoy it when your kids move onto high school sports. Practice everyday or sometimes twice and the actual events 2 or 3 times a week. Say it with me "They grow up so fast."

Dutch Momma said...

Dawn, you are famous now! People WANT to sit next to you! Imagine if it was say Julia Roberts sitting on the bleachers, I would invade her space! Or at least try to get as close as possible =)
(yes yes I am comparing you to Julia...)

MWDal said...

Too funny. Gotta love those band concerts. The early ones are hard to get through without laughing. Thankfully the kids do improve and so does the music.

marymarymomto5 said...

My secret is I paid my older kids $50 NOT to be in band. Know how much money I saved? Chorus is FREE. :) AND I didnt have to HEAR it!

I like it when we go to the early screening of a movie that has been out ie about 10 people including the 6 of us are coming to see it and people sit right in front of me! HELLO! This place is EMPTY! I get up and move. I am sure they dont even notice.

Anita said...

Ooh...I was one of those people who sat in your space last week when I was at the movies. But in my defense, I was forced in the row first, and it was either I sat in someone's personal space or the last person in our group would be required to - so I thought I'd be nice and do it. Then the stranger I sat next to got up and moved to the other side of her movie friend. So yeah, she was thinking the same thing you was. Oops.

Lorien Clark said...

Just wanted to tell you that I read your blog all the time and it makes my day. So I have nominated you for the You Make My Day award!

Julie said...

Love that post - I agree with the space invader issue - it's like when you are in line at the store or something, and the person behind you (who invariably REEKS of something) feels it neccessary to stand exactly 2.5 inches from you. ARGGGG!!!
I just love kids & sports schedules! (read with LOTS of sarcasm) One year, my son was in soccer and baseball, which have overlapping seasons. Then my daughter was in soccer, softball, AND dance (luckily only all 3 for about 3 weeks, then soccer & dance ended for the year). If you think it's bad trying to clone yourself, try cloning your kids, too!! ha ha Fortunately, I have regained my sanity and informed my kids that there will only be ONE, I REPEAT ONE after school/weekend activity at a time.

Gen said...

Apparently, people annoy you.

Becca "Gater Mom" said...

Thanks for the Dirty Dancing reference. Not much more to say that others haven't already said... "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Or in your case, "Nobody backs UberMom into a corner!"

Have a great weekend.

Michael M. said...

I bet if you covered youself in green fish and some of your kid's other kitchen inventions (and smelled like an old lady yourself), etc....that nobody would sit next to you. :)

Kyddryn said...

My poor mum was a chorus mum...she not only had to attend the concerts, she drove to many of them with a Jeep load of girls in blinding blue moire taffeta (never again) dresses, all of us warming up our voices and chattering like magpies about the upcoming performance. At least she got good seats, since we were always early. Your kids'll remember that you were there and some day may even understand the torture and dedication that is being a band mum. Whew!

Grandmother Goddess of the Garden said...

Space Invaders! Bwwwaaahhhhhhhh! I went to a Dylan concert a few years back and they had "bench seating" with numbers painted on the seat to depict your "space". I'm a small person (please don't hate me for it) and these huge college jocks sat down next to me and did the "male" spread...you know, when their B#$^'s need more room than the seat provides. These guys were all over my space and me. Much to my husbands dismay I got fed up and asked them if they actually needed to take up that much space due to their incredible size (I wasn't that nice) because if so the rest of the crowd would probably be interested in a peak. I guess an usher heard my dilema and came over and checked their tickets...they weren't even supposed to be sitting there! I watched the rest of the concert in spacious bliss.

Mabunny said...

LOL, I too thought you were going to say you realized it was your camera that the little nose picker was running around with. Glad you enjoyed the concert.
Don't envy you all the running aroudn with the upcoming baseball season due to the gas prices!! But thats another whole ranting post.
Have a great day Dawn!

MaBunny

Tammy said...

I think I have a solution - a stadium chair! They make them very lightweight now and that way you can sit anywhere in the bleachers you want. As for the booger kid, I don't have any advice. Just carry lots of Purell!

Patty said...

Oh boy multiple sports things, I am hoping to avoid that this year, but I have a feeling that will mean multiple practice days, and I am not sure that that is any easier.

And at least the little kid didn't have your camera taking pictures. That would have been my luck!

onthegomom said...

I cannot stand to attend those band/chorus concerts! It isn't that I don't want to see my own kids, I just hate the crowded auditorium!!!! I feel your pain.

Domestic Spaz said...

That sounds truly horrifying! I'm going to get my brother in law to make me a shirt that says "I Believe In Personal Space" and wear it all the time. I'm completely freaked out when people get too close to me.

Bernadette said...

I haven't read your blog in such a long time and you're still funny as ever. I was actually feeling a little down about things and decided to read your blog for inspiration :-) As always, thanks!

Maggii said...

Ha.....for me it's always someone REALLY tall or with BIG POOFY hair manages to sit right in front of me at my daughter's chorus concerts and musicals...it never fails ..no matter where I sit....they find me...LOL

last year for Annie..I couldn't see anything going on in Center Stage( which is where most of the play took place mind you)Luckily I'd gone to the dress rehearsal the night before so I'd pretty much seen the whole thing..and my daughter wasn't Annie or any other
"big" part so most of her scenes were stage left or stage right...LOL

But this year, she's Maria in The Sound of Music and I swear if some BIG POOFY Haired Bozo blocks my veiw...well there's going to be DRAMA in the House..and not on stage...LOL

Heidi said...

What instruments do your children play? I'm sure it meant a lot to them to have your support!

I always appreciated my parents attending my concerts and plays--and before I knew it, I was grown up and gone. So I really treasure those memories!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn...I was just wondering if a lot of people in your hometown, or your children's schools, know that you are a "World Famous Blogger". For instance, the secretary at the school and the pencil incident, the booger boy's father from last night, etc.

Do you hear feedback from these people who personally see you everyday?

Hope your Friday is going well.

Donna :)

mylhibug said...

I totally feel for you on the whole invading personal space issue at band concerts. I always get there early, because why drop my son off and then come back twenty minutes later. I usually bring a book, and always bring a Diet Coke or water(it gets sooo hot in the gym).

So I am usually one of the first 'seasoned' parents there, because I have that whole back row to myself. Oh sure, at one point I may have wanted to sit closer to the bands, but what is the point since it sounds better from farther away anyway. Something about being seventy feet away, and twenty-five feet above that makes the music sound so much better. :-)
It never fails, once I sit down, I'm like a magnet to "everyone" both sides, in front, on top of, you name it.

I think that is the reason I like homeschooling, the most.

Great post.

Heather said...

You crack me up! It reminds me of when our family went to NYC to see a Cirque du Soleil show and and entire family with British accents came and sat down in the seats in front of us. This girl my daughter's age and size proceeds to sit in front of my daughter and wants to use not only a booster seat, but her entire family's coats to sit on!!! My DD wasn't even using a booster as our seats were in one of the first four rows and thus didn't think she needed it. The mother heard our daughter asking the usher for a booster, but at that point they had no more left. I gave the mother a dirty look and she started convincing her 7 year old that she didn't need all the coats under her. I swear if she was any higher, you might as well put her onstage! We gave our daughter our coats to sit on to lift her up, but it wouldn't have been necessary if that girl didn't boost herself so high. She was sitting as high as my 6'1" husband. Totally unnecessary.

natasha said...

"This is my dance space, this is your dance space" totally classic, and that had me laughing out loud.

AlaneM said...

Oh sweet personal space, how I love thee!
DH & I used to live near the international district in Seattle & I had this issue ALL THE TIME!!! It was worst at the grocery store. Nothing like putting in your PIN when someone is breathing down your neck.
Have a wonderful day Dawn!

Susan said...

I went to my daughter's Christmas concert...actually all upper grades..Madrigals, concert choir, jazz ensemble, band and chamber orchestra...and I didn't know about all of them until I got there. I find a seat on the end. We are a charter school and bought an old church bldg to use so we have pews in the auditorium. Man sits next to me with his two kids, here to watch an older sibling. Youngest is four and cannot be still. He kicked me 3 or 4 times, his dad put him onto the floor to go to sleep under the pew in front and he keeps sliding down under my feet. This goes on for about 1/2 hr. FINALLY, the concert choir gets up there and the boys hanging out in the soundbooth have to go sing. AT LAST! I can go hang out in the soundbooth with the assistant principal (and I am able to figure out the 'stalker boy' who has been creeping out my older daughter. She could break the kid in half easily (and she's a little thing)....I removed my kids if they kicked someone (and woe to them if they DID kick someone) or if they were getting tired and disruptive, or annoying...so why can't other people do that? Mine were/are no angels, but at least they know how to act in public (of course, at home that's another issue)

Susan

Katrina said...

Isn't it awful? My middle sons play basketball for the high school. He plays JV and sits Varsity, so we sit and watch both games because he usually gets a few minutes playing time with Varsity. Anyway, we also have a 5 year old son who gets bored out of his mind so we pack him a bag of toys and activities. It's great for the JV game, but when Varsity starts, we are packed in like sardines and Preston has no place to sit and color. Then, when he gets restless, we get the evil eye from everyone. It was so bad last weekend that we couldn't even stand up to cheer without elbowing someone and I sat for half the game holding our coats on my lap and sweating to death. BACK OFF PEOPLE!

Stephanie said...

Hi, Dawn! Just want to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog! I have been reading it since September. I just sent your son a post card for his project. Have a great day!

Stephanie said...

Hi, Dawn! I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog. I just sent your son a post card from Maine. Have a great day!

Terri H said...

Well, I won't ask if booger-boy was using your camera. Enough already have, so I can wait for the answer.

Anonymous said...

Nana & Grandpa took Taylor to see,
"Elmo grows up" in Mpls. The show was GREAT, the lady sitting next to us with her camera.........by the way, it was with light bulbs.

jodi-mother of six said...

Oh GAWD, how I remember those sports practices and game schedules..and band concerts and play practices and....
I had 6 kids in 7 years-so it all piled on top of each other...and it felt like all I did was live in the station wagon. AND I had a husband that thought all Saturdays were HIS and did not think attendance at games was important. The games were always across town from each other and more than once, I *forgot* someone somewhere. And often, other parents KNEW I'd be there, so I was transporting more than my own.
And then the mealtimes...with all those different practice schedules... meals were a disaster and it's a wonder anyone got fed. Somehow, they (and I) all made it and they're adults now...but OH THE PAIN!

elmos mom said...

Gee everyone, take a breath! Now I'm afraid to go outside for fear of smelling like a little old lady or sitting too close to anyone. I also love my space but at events like these there seldom seems to be enough of it to suit everyone. Everyone is there to support their kids, right?

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you just give the inattentive father a wilting look and "suggest" that he hold his dear son on his lap so he could see over the heads of the people sitting in front of him. Then I'd hand him a tissue and tell him to clean the snot out of his kid's nose because it's gross.

nutralady2001 said...

Bahaha at the "Apparently people annoy you" comment.....some-one who doesn't "know" you( like we do) hasn't been following your blog and......just......doesn't....."get it".......

Can't wait for the books. I'm kinda on overload right now having had to catch up on a whole week's worth of blogs/comments (yes I have to read them all)at least with the book I can read it on trains/planes/keep it for those odd moments when I'm sans computer

micbethmayes said...

Hi Dawn,
This is my first time ever commenting on a blog. I hope I don't sound like a complete dork. We have six children, too. Michael
('94), Elizabeth ('96), Isabella
('98), Winnie ('00), Sophia ('02), and Theodora ('04). You tickled me with the comment about your personal space. What drives me nuts is when I am waiting for my kids somewhere and a fellow parent comes up to my driver's side window and practically sits in my lap because their head is so far into my car. UGH!!!I feel like screaming "STEP AWAY FROM THE VEHICLE!" One would think that the look on my face would cause them to back up just a little, but some people are funny and don't have a clue. I wonder if people try to send me signals sometimes and I am the one without a clue?Hmmmm...
Take care.

Monica (www.myspace.com/youbeyondme) said...

Ok, I didnt read through all 895 comments, so this may have already been said, but just in case it wasnt, and you really do read ALL your comments (haha)

"This is YOUR dance space and this is MY dance space."

Dirty Dancing, possibly the best movie...EVER.

Southern Boy said...

You know its to bad we have to be grown and have kids of our own before we see how great mom is.
Thanks to all of you great moms.
www.akiscb.blogspot.com

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