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A Concerted Nuisance
A photo I took with my cell should accompany this column. It doesn’t, however, because of the publisher’s legal concerns and the writer’s technical stupidity. So, I will create the image with words. Close your eyes and picture this ... well, close your eyes and have someone read this aloud and picture this:

Friday evening, you and your spouse are on your way to a local outdoor concert. The place is mobbed when you arrive because you’re an hour late -- said spouse was convinced it started at 8pm even though you repeatedly told him it started at 6:30. That’s okay, though, because you bank that mistake for future use (e.g., “But I’m probably right – remember that time with the concert?”).

Running the length of the stage is an area for dancing only (roughly 20 feet deep); beyond that, lawn chairs and blankets are permitted. Within minutes of arriving, the band takes a break and you notice a family vacating a spot in the first row behind the dance area. You nearly twist an ankle running to it.

You and your spouse open your chairs and sit back for an enjoyable evening of singing and swaying without the risk of embarrassing your kids who had better things to do (anything but go to the concert). During the intermission, roughly 85,000 concert goers occupy the dance area -- adults mingling, children playing. You don’t particularly mind because you’re a people watcher/judger (“She’s practically falling out of that dress!”). Note: that was the only time spouse listened.

However, when the band returns, the dance area people remain and do everything but dance. They chat, eat, guffaw, play Frisbee, prepare tax returns, put down hardwood floors, scrapbook, change oil, and break horses. They are thoughtlessly unaware of (a) the music and (b) the audience.

If that isn’t annoying enough, and it is, a thirty-ish woman stands directly in front of you, about 18 inches from your feet, and proceeds to toss a beach ball to her pre-teen daughter. The woman seems thoroughly pleased to embrace an “everything’s cool” Woodstock vibe in this Northern Virginia setting. You, and everyone within ten yards, quickly notice that Beach Ball Bimbo, as she comes to be referred, throws with all the accuracy of a TMZ report. For three songs, she wears a silly grin while her haphazard tosses knock over drinks and bump into heads. You review your options:

A. Ask Beach Ball Bimbo to move
B. Pop the ball
C. Throw the ball into the crowd
D. Throw Beach Ball Bimbo into the crowd
E. Take a picture of her with cell

I chose E. And that’s the photo that should accompany this column. Shortly after I took it, one of Beach Ball Bimbo’s wild throws hit an infant. The child wasn’t hurt, but he was startled enough to cry. BBB didn’t apologize as her mortified daughter retrieved the ball. Instead, BBB looked around with her goofy smile, searching for someone who appreciated her laid-back vibe. That was when she caught my vibe, which by that point reached a 3.4 magnitude on the Richter scale. I shot her the coldest, hardest stare I could muster. My friend Annie said that look could scare the stink off of ... something stinky. I glared as BBB’s grin gradually drooped, from silly to scared. She gathered her daughter and ball and quickly moved away.

This Friday I’ll be prepared: I’m bringing a safety pin for plan B.

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