Thursday, June 26, 2008

In which we go to an opera cast party
and some old bag is rude to my child

The other day when Sophie reported to her opera performance (never, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I'd be shrieking at my daughter "You need to go to bed NOW!! You have OPERA tomorrow!!!"), I was handed this pretty card. "Lovely," I thought. "The American Ring . . . Half Dome. Very nice. We'll add it to the opera folder."

However, my fellow stage mom pointed out that it was an invitation.

Heaven help us: The child supernumeraries and their parents were invited to a cast party following Saturday's matinee performance. The party would take place in the Opera Cafe, just off the basement of the Opera House. Fine, but I was worried by the small print:

The cast party is an exclusive benefit for donors at the Principal Patron and above giving levels.

If you're a mom, does that set off warning bells or what? But my friend insisted "Our children are well behaved! And they wouldn't have given us an invitation if they didn't want the children to come." I still wasn't convince this wasn't someone's idea of a sick joke, but I agreed any way.

But it was mostly fine. The children enjoyed trying to recognize the principals out of costume and makeup and ask them to autograph programs.

Here is Sophie chatting up Donald Runnicles, the opera's music director and the conductor of this program ("the maestro!!" she keeps reminding me).

I enjoyed touring the cafe and finding a photograph of my fantasy husband, the truly-fabulous-in-every-way Thomas Hampson.

After a while, we settled down with our cheese cubes, strawberries, and glasses of wine (such were the refreshments) to hear Donald Runnicles and several members of the cast say a few words. It was here that the fine print came into play. Whereas the remarks were clearly aimed at the donors (thank you thank you for giving us buckets of money), not a single one of whom looked under seventy-five, there was apparently some confusion on the part of the woman seated behind us.

No, she's not in this photo. This is just to give an idea of the demographic.

She seemed to have focused on the word exclusive and mistakenly thought that the event was exclusively for her and her ilk. The daggers shooting out of her eyes in the direction of our table clearly indicated that she did not believe that children belonged at this event. Had she dozed off in the production and failed to notice that there were children in the production and that this was a cast party?

The children didn't notice the glares, but even they could not ignore her ridiculously loud shushing whenever they made the slightest noise such as moving a chair. She in fact made more noise than they did. And what was really a shame is that the kids were truly on their best behavior. We had coached them to wait until a grownup was finished with a conversation before asking for an autograph, to take only three cubes of cheese and two strawberries, to be respectful of the privilege of being at such a fancy adult event.

What was up with this woman? Was it just because she was old and cranky? Suffering from a serious case of over-entitlement? Probably a combination. I restrained myself from having a word with her, reasoning that she had probably just donated six million dollars to the opera and would have my child barred from any future performances if I told her what an ass she was being. I just turned around, looked directly at her to let her know I was aware of the disturbance she was creating, and smiled pleasantly.

But what I would still really like to say to her, hoping sensitive readers and the good people at BlogHerAds will forgive me, is


Goodness, I feel positively refreshed. So good to get that out.


lisagh said...

Heh heh.

Belle in Bloom said...

Man. Nothing will make me drop the F-bomb quicker than someone being rude to my child. Especially if they haven't done anything. That makes me mad just thinking about it. I'm glad you feel better and I'm also glad that Sophie didn't realize how the woman was acting.

NJDecorator said...

Good for you. I cannot stand it when people are uptight asses.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like the old lady was the one without the manners...

Brianne said...

Good for you! I can't believe how entitled some people think they are. I'm glad the kids didn't notice how awful she was being. It was a cast party, their night, not hers.

Kate said...

Bitchy old bag.

KatieGirlBlue said...

Hey, what's your email address?

I'm coming to the Bay for a little while, and I'd love to meet you for a coffee.....

Jennifer H said...

She should have been asking for your daughter's autograph.

Your manners were lovely. Hers, abominable. The whole point of manners is to make other people feel comfortable.

Kate said...

Good for you! I think I would have found it difficult not to say it to her face!

Preppy Mama said...

I get so heated when there is anything involving my kid. What kills me is that there are so many people who are intolerant of children. That's just disgusting!! Good for you!

Red Flashlight said...

Sometimes little old ladies don't actually like children! Shocking, I know.

I admire the tasteful, non-verbal way you handled that one. Sometimes a poker-faced, smile-less stare is just the ticket. It may seem rude to some, but what else can you do? A karate chop to the Adam's Apple would have been too disruptive.