the scowl in its natural state
Deb Fotheringham sweetly offered me a couple tickets to her Time EP release party, to be held at a location inside my ten-minute radius. I decided that this happy occasion would be the perfect night to take El Guille to his first music show. When I giddily told him the news, he scowled at me. This isn’t terribly different than when I suggest anything in the world to him that isn’t what he’s doing right now: from eating his dinner to changing his behavior. (It’s the same disbelieving scowl I probably project when you tell me The Cheesecake Factory is good.)
We arrived at the auditorium and found aisle seats. The opening act was an earnest singer-songwriter accompanying himself on guitar. The first song was a lovely tune, sung quietly yet with feeling. “I’m bored,” E.G. said halfway through.
“Shhh,” I whispered. The song ended and we all clapped. The singer started his next song.
“HEY. NOT THE SAME SONG AGAIN. HE ALREADY PLAYED THIS,” noted E.G., the subtleties of a solo artist falling on unappreciative ears.
“How much longer do we have to sit here?”
“Until it’s over.”
“I want to watch Clone Wars.”
“It’s not on until 8:30, and it’s only 7:15 right now.”
“THIS IS TAKING TOO LONG.”
“I’m going to go get a drink.”
“You can’t, see how they shut the doors? They don’t want you to go in and out.”
“I have to go to the bathroom.”
“I’ll come with you.”
“I can find it myself!”
“It’s probably a good idea if I...”
“NO! I’m really good at finding things. See ya.” And he left the auditorium. After a few minutes he slid back into the room. “I can’t find it,” he declared, which was when I had to slide out. I didn’t dare take him back into the auditorium so I watched him run around the installations and play with the drinking fountain. He nearly careened into Deb as she tried to center herself before the performance. I talked him into returning to our seats by promising that he could watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars for the very first time that night IF he sat quietly for Deb’s show. I immediately handed over my phone so he could play Pac-Man.
Now, were I you (single, childless, possessed of respect for the performing arts,) I would have made a disgusting face at this kind of parenting. A cell phone? Yes. But they’re so bright and tacky! Yes, but really, Pac-Man is on a black background so not that bright. They are loud! It was on silent. Shoving a screen in front of your child, it’s just lazy! Yup, lazy and desperate. And really, how dare you bring a child to a concert who would misbehave? I had to try it one time. I hope you learned your lesson. That I did. No more shows until he is at least 8, or Mötley Crüe comes to town.
Deb is really pretty, did you know that? If your name is Nick, you probably did. She’s also one of eleven children, did you know that? Chances are you’re related to a Fotheringham by this point. She’s also funny and endearing on stage, which, as it turns out, is kind of how Deb is when she’s not on stage. Deb also does this. I really like her music; it’s on heavy rotation in the car (especially track one--what’s that one called, Deb? Paris?) Next time I won’t bring someone who has a permanent scowl attached to his face, who keeps asking me when we can leave because he doesn’t want to miss The Clone Wars, who rolls his eyes and makes choking noises during songs, and would have been happier surrounded by Legos instead of culture.
Not that Legos aren’t culture.
Oh, you know what I mean.