That’s something I can’t change, and I’m grateful for the perspective it gives me (philosophically speaking, that is, though the higher vantage point is sometimes useful for finding things in a crowd as well).
One of my pet peeves — in the irrational, uncontrollable, tensing up, teeth-clenched, jolt of visceral irritation right up the spine way — has always been Audience Noise at concerts and theatrical performances. Candy wrappers, coughing, all that. It’s the audio equivalent of someone pulling out their phone screen in a dark movie theater. The actual light isn’t much by any physical measure, but it yanks you out of that mental tunnel that’s formed between you and the performance in front of you.
It’s hard to resist the irritation that inevitably provokes in me. And that just makes me feel shitty when it happens, especially when the noise comes (as it often does) from something beyond anyone’s control.
We had someone with an oxygen tank a few rows behind us the last time I went to the Lyric Opera, for example. Distracting? Hell, yes. It was a rhythmic hissing pulse in the background for the whole show. But also not something the owner could help. The subtext to getting angry about something like that is “people on oxygen shouldn’t get to be in the audience with quiet people like me,” and it doesn’t take too much self-awareness to recognize that that’s a pretty horrible thought.
So, back to being tall (full circle here) — it’s a big help for quelling the Audience Noise irritation. Because the reality of my size is, I’m almost as obnoxious to have in the audience as someone with an oxygen tank. Whoever’s stuck behind me is in an “Obstructed View” seat no matter what they paid for, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. I’m sure that’s just as frustrating for some people as the ambient noises are for me.
A sobering thing to think about when other people are making my teeth clench. And that’s good, because we’re all going to have selfish little moments of irritation at things beyond out control, no matter how hard we try to be good and understanding people, but they’re certainly not fun. Being angry sucks. The less I do it, the happier I am.
Fuck the gum-chewers and candy-wrapper-crinklers, though. I’m okay holding onto my anger at them. No one’s perfect…