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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Life Monitors

There are people who appoint themselves the monitors of all social situations. They see it as their personal duty and calling to "speak to" individuals who have errantly worn the incorrect ensemble to the ceremony, to "redirect" a person not following the prescribed order of events, to "nudge" a man not sticking to the social protocol, to "offer advice" to a misaligned lady. These life monitors protect the covenant of perfection. Every club, every church, every workplace, every group of friends, every social situation has one of these self-assigned monitors.

And they are always on the lookout for a woman like me. I give purpose to their lives. I have a large target on my front and another on my back. I'm totally and completely correctable at almost everything I do, so much so that I've finally learned to accept it with a smile and go on doing just what I was before someone took notice of my shortcomings.

The big bosomed church ladies send messages to me through my children critiquing the way I receive communion on Sunday mornings, as if they've been to every church everywhere and seen everyone and have clear confirmation from Jesus Himself on the the way one should position her hands to cradle the Holy Sacrament.

Horse people tipsy on toddies - liquid courage for chasing foxes and coyotes swiftly through field and forest - tell my mother to instruct me that my stock tie knot isn't centered. They see the disparity with their mighty measurement eyes. They want me and my mother to know I've failed.

My latest reprimand, however, came at a concert. In public. Face-to-face. If you have not heard by now (and almost everyone, including my mother, has heard), on Friday night at the Packway Handle Band concert I was the target of a public shushing. I was asked by another audience member if it would be okay if she told my friends and me to pipe down. She claimed she could hear us clear to the diagonally opposite side of the room next to the speakers from which the band’s They-Might-Be-Giants-type-stylized-alternative-bluegrass-bar-music emanated at a decibel beyond a healthy range for the human ear; an unfathomable feat. The ability to speak that loudly might one day land me in the record books.

And everything probably would have been fine if I hadn’t sarcastically gasped and asked the room monitor if she could hear who we were talking about. It took all the restraint I could rally to keep from questioning if she knew what a packway handle is anyway.

I promised that after intermission we would enjoy ourselves in a more operatic demeanor, like the Queen of England at a dog fight. Then I decided to discount the entire matter as an unfortunate gaffe similar to blessing someone’s heart to his face.

Because I know something that all of the self-appointed monitors don't, and it's not simply that lifetime name-takers ride on the ridge of rudeness. I'm pretty darn confident that the person getting shushed is ALWAYS having way more fun than the shusher.


Lisa said...

Oh Lucy! You and I are two peas in a pod! Quite recently I took the ox goad to one of the Monitors and poke, poke poked!! She was appalled, I was was like watching a train wreck!! What fun!

Mike said...

Strange. I would think that one who claims to be so literate would know better than to write a rant with an even number of paragraphs! I will certainly be mentioning your faux pax up at the next SAM meeting.

William Kendall said...

I've known a few of these!

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