When is just 'being' an act of rebellion?
We went to the opera again today. It's broadcast live from the Met in New York City to cinemas around the world. We attend fairly regularly. Joe loves opera. I love Joe. Do the math. I'll admit that I like most of what I see and hear, a few I've just hated. But by and large it's a pleasant outing.
Part of what I enjoy about the experience is the people watching. This audience isn't like the one that's queuing up to see 'Tron'. It's older. It's more monied. It considers itself 'cultured' with a capitol K. I'm by far and away not the only person with a disability there. In fact there are walkers and canes and wheelchairs and hearing aids and comb overs everywhere you look.
Some of the conversations are hysterical. Two older women were standing at the bottom of the stairs going up to the rows behind the wheelchair seating and discussing their tickets. (Tickets are sold to exact seats, it's much more pretentious than 'general seating'.) They were trying to decide who should sit on which side. One has a weaker bladder the other needed to stretch her leg out into the aisle. I thought for a second there was going to be 'old lady smackdown wrestling' over the aisle seat. Eventually pee won over knee and up they went.
Then, to the obvious shock of everyone around us, in came a guy of about 50 who had Down Syndrome. The whole section hushed, many probably thinking, 'Poor dear, he's lost'. He sat with a woman a little older than him three seats down from me in the same row. It was clear that he was where he was supposed to be except he wasn't supposed to be where he was supposed to be. When the interior of the Met was projected onto the screen he said to the woman he was with, not loudly but excitedly, 'When I went to the Met in New York I used to sit up there!' The woman squinted at the screen and asked, 'Where?' 'Up there,' he said, 'in the Gods.'
I could almost hear the nudge nudge sounds that had been going on die down. This guy had been to the Met. Regularly. We were sitting in a movie theatre. He relaxed back into his seat and got ready for the performance. He was smartly dressed in a suit jacket, white shirt and tie.
He looked good.
But that wasn't the surprise.
He looked like he belonged.
And that, any way you slice it, is rebelliously political.
Forgive me for saying this but, man, I'm down with that.