It started off well
I bought tickets for my husband and me to see Phil Lesh and Friends at The Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York last Tuesday. I love Phil Lesh, and so does my husband, who introduced me to his music and The Grateful Dead when we started dating in 1990.
From my perspective, each Phil show is a shimmering moment in musical history. Phil emanates benevolence, gratitude, and kindness, while displaying fastidious attention to craft. The shows are also an excellent value. At seventy-nine years of age, this man will move around a stage for four hours or more, outlasting my much-younger husband who stands perfectly still and cries uncle in the middle of the second set.
The danger of seeing PL&F is that it can ruin you for concerts by other musicians. We went to see Ian Anderson days after a Phil show last September, and Anderson suffered badly by comparison. He sounded all right, but he exuded a self-congratulatory manner that didn't warrant us wasting two hours trying to get out of the parking lot after the encore. So we split.
Tuesday's Phil show definitely did not disappoint, especially since Jorma Kaukonen, formerly of Jefferson Airplane, and whose solo Christmas CD we play year round, was among the Friends.
We had a perfect view of the band
Usually, we get seats up in Loge, but this time we had spots on the floor. This meant we had to stand. I had stood for a show once before, for Public Image Ltd. at Brooklyn Steel last October. It worked out beautifully, with me ending up right beneath John Lydon himself. I was utterly psyched for the possibility I'd also be able to view the greatness of Phil Lesh up close, especially since I am nearsighted.
But then things got weird
If you've ever been to a Phil show, you know the joy of watching grown men in the audience dance like kindergartners at a birthday party. Well, I dance too. Once that music starts, I can't stop and I don't care who sees me.
The only problem is that when a crush of people dance around in a big group, they bump into each other. A lot. But everything's fine as long as it's a friendly crowd. Everyone's having a good time, and there's no harm in it.
Until there is.
I was dancing away, while my husband stood off to the right behind me, talking to a fellow fan. At some point, I felt something bumping me from behind. I looked over my shoulder and found a guy there. I smiled and moved up to give him some room, which, it turned out, he didn't want.
He bumped me again. I felt the bill of his baseball cap against the back of my head. I looked over my shoulder, and he said, "Sorry. Sorry!" I said, "It's okay."
I thought all was well until he bumped me again, rhythmically and repeatedly. It occurred to me that something was wrong. I thought to make a joke of it: Hey, if you get any closer, you're going to have to put a ring on my finger.
But then a commotion ensued. I heard my husband shout, "Hey, Buddy, that's my wife!" He took the guy by the collar, removed him from my person, and threatened him with fatal injury. The perp fled, never to be seen again.
Which brings a couple of questions to mind
First Question: How was I so clueless? While it did strike me as strange the way this person kept bumping me, I didn't protest. I'm not sure if I didn't want to believe what was happening. Or I didn't want to accuse him wrongfully. Or if I didn't want to embarrass him. Or what.
I think the bottom line is: I didn't want to make a scene. (Interestingly, friends of ours who were seated in Loge saw the entire incident. Whether I liked it or not, there was a scene.)
Now, this is not the first time I've had this experience. Years ago while commuting home from a job in Manhattan, it happened several times while strap-hanging on the 7 train. On each occasion, I'd ask myself, "Is he doing what I think he's doing?" Heaven forbid I should jump to conclusions.
One time the train came to a full stop at 74th Street, and the perp, determinedly affixed to my rump, kept wriggling. This gave me my answer. I turned to him, and so as not to make a scene, gently said, "I know what you're doing."
He got off the train.
Another time, while walking home from the subway to my parents' house in a business suit, a collegiate young man jogged towards me. Then he got close. Too close. He scooped me into his arms and grabbed everything he could get his hands on before jogging off as if nothing had happened.
I ate dinner with my parents without mentioning the incident. I didn't want anyone calling the police. As usual, I didn't want to make a scene.
Other Questions: Why are some men so much better than others? Why are some gentlemen and others animals? Do animals result when we raise our sons with lower expectations than we do our daughters? Why are so many women in my position quick to avoid making a scene? Also, what must it be like to find out your husband is the jackass who mounts strangers in public places? What happens when you find out such an individual is your father?
We’ve all heard that obnoxious expression, “Lock up your daughters,” which suggests that men are not accountable for their actions. They are. Maybe we should change the expression to, “Lock up your sons” because some men should not be let out of the house.