It’s been a musical weekend thus far. Our oldest performed yesterday, our youngest performed today. I had four jobs, 1) stay out of fights; 2) take video of the proceedings, 3) escape as soon as I could, 4) avoid crushing children even if they deserved it.
The event is the annual music festival and open house at our youngest’s elementary school. Parents arrive in the morning, many of them apparently jumping the fence to get the best seats. They then compete for the best video angles. The most dangerous are the parents and grandparents of the first year students. This is their first event and it’s still exciting to them and they have a level of ruthlessness that is truly astonishing. If you get a good camera angle, you will be jostled, deliberately bumped and someone will set up in front of you.
Luckily, I’m tall, so I can usually get a good camera angle despite the best efforts of the others. Because of that, I tend to find a chair until it’s time to go to work.
Complicating matters, is that, because it’s new to the first years, they bring more people than necessary: grandparents, aunts and uncles, random small children off the street. They also feel the need to stay for the entire proceeding. They also chatter a lot and school staff members wave giant placards that say “Shut up, please.” during the inevitable speeches. (Unfortunately they point them at the crowd not the speech makers.)
In my case, the novelty of all this wore off a long time ago. “That’s my daughter up there! That one right there!” becomes, over the years, “Do we really have to do this shit again?” I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it happens. I do enjoy seeing our daughters play, especially when they rock the piano as our youngest did today, but I also beat a quick exit whilst She Who Must Be Obeyed attends the open class. (Note, she was on the PTA so it’s more of an obligation for her than it is for me. Also, the school encourages only one parent to attend the class.)
The other complication today was other people’s children. They were standing on chairs, staring at me and saying “LOOK FOREIGN GUY!” I usually respond to this by looking around and going “Where? Where is the foreign guy?” This I can forgive, but the two kids wrestling in the middle of the floor during our youngest’s performance had me trying to figure out maximum sentences for zapping children with a stun gun. Luckily for them, I was working. However, I learned later that She Who Must Be Obeyed was looking for a stun gun.
Next year, we’ll do this again. I’ll have the same jobs and part of me will be proud of our girls. The other part will get out as soon as it can.