I can hear gum snapping at a hundred yards. I don’t mind people chewing gum around me, so long as their mouths are closed, but gum-snapping is like nails on a chalkboard times 100 for me. Gum snapping is the most whorish (legal) public activity possible.
This evening us Gottliebs attended Phantom of the Opera on Broadway at the Majestic Theater. It was a very good show (not great, but I’m not doing a review today), and the kids loved it.
I had a few issues with the people around us.
Behind me and to my right was a family of four that included two teenage girls. For the first 40 minutes of the show, all I could hear was gum-snapping. When I turned around for the third time with my finger at my lips they finally got it. Apparently, this family of cud chewers is no longer able to hear each other’s mastication. Perhaps it’s so constant that it’s become white noise.
The last half hour of the first act was lovely, and mostly silent from behind me.
Then came the intermission.
America is so in love with our endless snacks that vendors now come to your seat baseball park style to sell you licorice, Skittles, M&M’s, and peanuts. We are a nation of gluttons who are unable to sit in a seat and passively watch other people entertain us without piling high fructose corn syrup, sugar, fat, and salt into our gaping maws.
The man behind me and to my left yelled out to his wife, “Get me some peanuts.”
I wanted to throttle him. I knew I was going to have a second act of chomping, slurping, and throat clearing. Peanuts leave your throat scratchy. He met my expectations and then some. The second act was music, singing, the sounds of snack bags being opened, and a dozen Americans chewing with their mouths open. Lovely.
I am curious what the theaters are thinking. I recall spending my childhood sneaking a half roll of butterscotch lifesavers into the Philharmonic and getting in trouble for it. I don’t know when we decided that food has to be a part of every experience, or why it’s appropriate to sit munching in what should be a silent room. I’d pay extra for a theater that didn’t serve food in any form.
Our relationship with food is a dysfunctional one.