Tag Archives: line-ups

Things that Irritate Me (Part 3, with some apologies)

clockBelieve me. I am the last person who thought there would be cause to revisit this theme of mine. At the end of my last “irritated” post I was as happy as the rest of you to be done with it. Never, in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that a shallow person like me would have any sort of list, much less a growing list, of irritations. Maybe it’s the “Black Friday” thing. If my memory serves me correctly (and you know how often that happens) I recall that it was this time last year, while in Seattle doing a little bargain shopping myself, I encountered the New Yorker whom, for whatever reason, (maybe she had just broken up with her partner of 16 years and was engaging in some retail therapy to deal with the despair) seemed to feel it was ok to lash out at the poor woman behind the cash who was not only working as hard as any human could be expected, but doing it with a smile on her face. Maybe we are all in too much of a hurry these days to actually care about other people, and their feelings, even a little tiny bit. Or maybe we have become too accustomed to talking to what are essentially machines (you do know that iPhone of yours is one) and have forgotten to notice when we are not. Whatever the cause, I am finding myself increasingly irritated by people who are rude. Just plain, outright rude. To complete strangers. Like me. Shall I explain? Well that’s about as rhetorical as a question can get.

So it’s Saturday afternoon and I’m at my fav coffee shop, standing in line, waiting patiently for my turn at the till. So far, so good. There’s no one behind me which, I think to myself is a “good thing” because I’m about to present the Barista with my half price coupons which the good people at coffee HQ have so generously deemed I have earned as a result of the truck loads of dimes I spend at this place. Let’s face it. Shallow people are known for their propensity to waste gobs of time sitting and drinking coffee as what better place to while away the hours playing games like “who’s that guy/gal”, which perhaps explains the above speculation on the New Yorker. Unfortunately, but as can be expected, things did not go as quickly as one would hope and as both the Barista and I struggled with codes and apps and other technologies that were apparently required to make this happen, the line began to grow. Which was fine until a voice from the really not so long line called out “Give it up! I’ll pay for your coffee”. Now under normal circumstances I would be rather pleased to have a complete stranger offer to buy me a coffee because it’s kind of a nice thing to do. You know, one of those “pay it forward” things. But these were not normal circumstances and he was not being nice. In fact, he was being quite rude and that more than kind of irritated me. And I told him so. And it felt good.

I mean here’s a guy who, in the midst of his very busy day (I know this because he told me so), apparently found the time to stop in at his local coffee shop for a cuppa. Now it’s not like this is one of those self-serve places where you run in and out in mere seconds with something dark and murky, the sole purpose of which is to perk you up for the remainder of the day and most of the night. Nope. This is a rather popular, gourmet haunt in the middle of an upscale mall where at times you give serious consideration to offering up your first born in exchange for a parking spot. Where shoppers far more skilled at their craft than I, effortlessly wend their way through the hoards to the myriad of shops specializing in everything from gourmet cheese to high-end duds. Where in the midst of this retail frenzy there is an oasis of calm, a place we all go where, while they might not know your name, you know they’re going to ask for it. And you may have to wait. Let’s face it, they don’t call it a break for nothing. So if I’ve said it once I’ve said it six or seven times. “Unless you’re a contestant on The Amazing Race, what’s another couple of minutes in the line?

You know it’s not in my nature to dole out advice so consider this a suggestion. Next time you find yourself chomping at the bit to berate someone for higgledy-piggledy wasting two or three precious minutes of your life, take a moment to think before you speak. Because at this joyous but I understand, rather hectic time of year, maybe we all need to be just a teeny tiny bit nicer to each other. I’m pretty sure it’s going to make you feel a whole lot better but if you’re still not convinced, well take a good look at the line. If there happens to be a 5 foot 2, 105 pound (the treadmill really does work) shallow looking woman with a striking resemblance to Babs in that line, get prepared to hear about it. And trust me, those two or three minutes will be some of the best of my day.

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A Shallow Person’s Guide to the Folk Fest (Part 1 of 3)

Thanks to haloocyn http://www.sxc.hu/photo/856335It’s that time again. I don’t know about you but I sure find that each year seems to go by faster than the last. Everyone has a marker by which they measure the passing of time. For some people it’s New Year’s Eve, for others perhaps an anniversary or birthday. For me, it’s the Edmonton Folk Festival. My year runs from one folk fest to the next. And now, in these few moments before the big day, or should I say four days, I am filled with both excitement and dread because, as you may already have guessed, it’s not always easy to be a shallow person attending what for many people is their “kumbaya” event of the year. But I’ve been attending now for more than 30 years and have come to learn the ways of the devotees so, for those who may be embarking on this journey (or some facsimile) for the first time, I thought it would be good of me to share with you some of the wisdom I have acquired over what appears to be a very long time.

Getting Ready

The Rules: For such a free n’ easy music loving crowd there are a lot of rules that you are going to have to follow. There’s rules about when to come, where to line up, who to line up with, when and how to enter the park, where to put your tarp, how large your tarp can be, how tall your chairs can be, what you can drink…well you get the picture. My advice is to start following rules, yes any rules, for a couple of weeks before the event, just to get into practice. A good long game of “Simon Says” might help you get into the spirit of things while, at the same time, strengthening your listening skills.

Warning! This is a particularly difficult aspect of the show for us “shallows” as we typically like to do things our own way. There are ways around most, if not all of the rules but since I don’t want to jeopardize my ability to attend this festival, (and not following the rules will do just that) you will have to contact me privately for more information.

The Line-Ups: There’s no getting around this one. You’re going to line-up to buy your tickets, line-up to get into the entry line-up, line-up for food, line-up for the plates you need to put the food on, line-up for bathrooms (a bit of a stretch to call them that), line-up for CDs, and line-up to leave. At the end of each night you will find yourself in the “mother of all line-ups” traffic jam. Here’s where that ability to make small talk will come in handy as you try to alleviate the boredom by engaging those on either side of you in some sort of meaningless banter. See the “conversation starters” below for some tips on how to get things started. You may not like it but it’s either that or one of those “little white pills” I have spoken so fondly of in the past.

The Dance: Back to the mirror for this one, although for the purpose of this exercise I recommend a full length one. There’s gonna be dancin’ and you’re gonna be boppin’ if only to continue to see the band while everyone else is groovin’ to the music. Here’s what I suggest. Practice your moves to some Celtic and then some African sounds. They’ll be entirely different (one you’ll have to focus on your feet, the other primarily on the upper body). Once you have those down some combination of each should get you through the North American stuff. (The rather colloquial language here is my attempt to get into the spirit of the event.)

Starting a Folk Fest Conversation

Like it or not at various points during the week-end you’re going to have to start a conversation. Whether it’s in one of the multitude of line-ups, the beer tent or while you’re “chillaxing” on the hill, it’s going to happen. I’ve said it before, I’m nothing if not the queen of chit chat, so here are some conversation starters for communing with your new folkie friends. They tend to be friendly, engaged and committed people so once you get them going you’ll likely be able to sit back and let them do most of the work.

“Love the shirt! Did you pick up the fabric on your last trip to India?”
“These are delicious! Are they local, vegan hotdogs?” (thanks Wader)
“I can’t wait for the Sunday morning gospel workshop!”
(Watch carefully for the look on their face before continuing with this thread.)
“I really wanted to see
[insert your favourite artist here] but there was no way I could miss my hot yoga class this morning.”
“Oh, you’re an accountant. That must be interesting work.”

Warning: At some point during the week-end you’re going to be approached by a long-time attendee who will start complaining about the crowds; let you know that side stage concerts are not really “workshops” anymore; and that they used to be able to arrive at anytime and still sit a stone’s throw away from the main stage. It’s time for them to face the harsh reality that, despite their appearance, this is no longer the ‘80s and this conversation is getting really old. I’m afraid you’re going to have to be the one to tell them to “let it go”, for all of our sakes.

There’s just too much to cover and so as not to overwhelm (and keeping my Gen Y readers in mind) I have broken this posting into 3 parts. Tomorrow…What to bring.

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