I was at a Beethoven & Schubert chamber concert on Saturday night, and I arrived a few minutes late. There was already a line of other latecomers and the attendant told us she’d let us in between movements. Then a Jewish man slid up, right against the door, and started wheedling to get in. The attendant told him the same as she told the rest of us “when the movement is over.” He didn’t move to the back of the line. Instead, he stayed pressed up against the door, certainly inside the attendant’s personal space bubble.
When there was a moment of silence, he put his meaty hand on the door of the auditorium and opened it. The attendant stopped him, and he started arguing with her. “You said we could go in between movements. The movement is over now.” I think she meant between pieces, when there would be a bit of shuffling of musicians and stage setup. She held her ground though, and closed the door.
“Can I slap him?” N asked me.
So N gestured at the line, “Sir, we have all been waiting.” The Jewish man smiled and nodded, “mmhmm.” He didn’t move.
I followed up, “Maybe you should get in line like everybody else?”
Then the attendant actually defended him, “Oh there’s no line here, it’s open seating.” This made no sense. If there were tickets, then lines wouldn’t matter. But without them, the best seats would go to whoever gets inside first.
I didn’t let him ruin my evening, but decided I should blog about it. Society would be a much worse place if we encourage his pushy behavior by letting him slime his way to the front of the line, or force his way into the concert hall in the middle of a piece. Instead I think we should push back. People like this don’t care about glares or disapproval. They need to hear “no” from people who have the authority. They need to be told to wait in line like everybody else.
In my ideal world, we’d all stand up to these people whenever they tried their creepy “social engineering” methods for getting ahead. We would all chime in and say “wait in line the rest of us.” We’d all do our part to prevent them from getting what they’re after. We really should not encourage this kind of behavior. Let’s show them that being pushy gets them nothing but disdain. Let’s push back.