Sunday, 20 May 2012

Listen carefully

Son B. (6) plays a sailor in "The Little Mermaid" at school and tonight is the first of four performances. We have a ticket, know his song and dance by heart, We are sitting at a table in a dreamy under- the sea setting and we listen to the introductory talk by the Head of the school.
The introduction is interrupted by annoying noises coming from somewhere behind me.
The thing is that I have extremely good hearing. So good in fact that if you were my neighbor and wearing slippers, to me, they would sound much noisier than you can imagine. Put me on a bed with layer upon layer of mattresses and I could hear the proverbial pea moving beneath them. I easily hear a sound no matter how faint.This ability is not a blessing but a burden. Let’s just say that I am the extreme opposite of deaf. I have yet to come across a situation where this auditory talent is essential.

Back to the nautical introduction. The irritating sound continues and I look back, annoyed. Who, oh who in his or her right mind makes all this noise while we are waiting for our children to perform. I seek out the culprit with the “death by glaring” look.

Falling under my scrutiny is a man with a moustache, wearing glasses and a khaki outfit. He looks at me, the corners of his mouth turned downward, the moustache consequently joins the corners and obediently turn downward as well. His khaki clad shoulders however move upward in a shrug as if to say, ‘I have no idea where the noise is coming from either, so sorry.”
This mute excuse does not appear to be totally sincere. He is probably the type of man who professes not to know how to activate a ringtone on his mobile and the next thing you know his phone rings, playing something trendy by Shakira or Madonna.

Then I overhear, not loudly but clearly however: "Smack My Bitch Up." I have never heard it played so softly. It dawns on me that this little disturbance has more to do with me than I initially thought. How is it that this song (which, by the way, I had on my playlist as the ‘second best category’ as a distraction during my recent marathon) suddenly, as if it has a mind of its own, blares from MY phone?

The ringtone gradually gets louder and I hold my bag to my ear to ensure it is in fact my phone that is causing the commotion. Eventually I open my bag, the sound is now so loud that no-one at our table can hear the Head of the school anymore. In a total panic, I don’t switch the cursed thing off but merely close my bag again which is a futile exercise, everyone within earshot can still hear the words to my (apparently) favorite music. This is hardly the right time to begin explaining that I usually listen to completely different music, how that song came to be my ringtone and so on. I cast furtive glances about me and say, ‘Switch off you fucking stupid phone!” This is however a lost cause because my phone isn’t responsive to voice commands.

Before a repeat performance of 'Smack My Bitch Up' at an even greater volume and before the line “All the nice girls love a sailor” is repeated out of the mouths of innocent six year olds, I jump to my feet ducking and bending at the waist whispering the occasional “So sorry” as I try to reach the exit with the least disruption.

To my horror I find myself face to face with twenty small sailors nervously waiting for their cue to step onto the stage. The juxtaposition between them and 'Smack My Bitch Up’ couldn’t be more pronounced.
After sorting my little mishap out I quickly make my way back into the fantasy world where the little ones put on a spectacular performance.
This performance certainly fulfills any auditory or visual needs in me. I wonder what the superlative of pride is.

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