Monday, December 05, 2005


Let me raise another issue related to Steve Smith's query about what one should do when one's concert experience is interrupted by audible snoring: what one should do when someone is actually sleeping on you.

Such was the predicament I found myself in last week at Carnegie Hall, during a lovely program of John Adams, Haydn, and Beethoven given by the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Joshua Bell. Despite seats in the dress circle, J, myself, and two others somehow found ourselves surrounded by more riff-raff than a Fam Circ Carmen during freshman orientation week.

While Mrs. Riff-raff in the seat below me was certainly alert enough, as evidenced by her dance moves during the Haydn, her spouse was not so lucky, and his intermittent naps during the first half turned into a full bore snooze during the Beethoven.

Which is fine. God strike me down if my eyelids have never drooped in a concert hall. But it wasn't enough to discreetly rest his eyes. The man had to let his head drop back and splay himself out across the entire seat. Since the seats in the extreme left of the dress circle are steeply raked, that means his head eventually ended up ON MY SHIN.

While our friend Scott mouthed he was "so over this" and threatened to kick said head, I urged restraint for fear he would come to noisily in the middle of the Larghetto. I had basically resigned myself to the fact that this dude's melon was going to be on me for the next half hour, until his gurgling started to progress to something more substantial and unlike Steve, I found myself in a unique position to actually do something about it (since his wife obviously didn't care that her husband was embarassing her so spectacularly). Using my ankle, I gently realigned his neck so as to put his windpipe in a more comfortable position and was thus able to enjoy the thrilling Allegro in relative peace.

He finally woke up when the applause came, but neither he nor his wife seemed to feel the need to apologize for the new low in concert etiquette they had achieved. For our part, we hoped their PATH train home would get derailed.

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

I gotta second this post. Man, this was something ELSE. I mean, I like a good head in my lap as much as the next guy, but PLEASE. Between Mr. Narcolepsy and his swaying was like seeing CATS at NJPAC. I am sure they enjoyed a cocktail at the spinning bar atop the MAarriott Marquis afterward.