Seeing is Believing

“His hat looks like a – ”

The gentleman seated behind us used the “p” word, one with which we were very familiar since we do have 2 boys and are using anatomically accurate language so they are 100% comfortable with 100% of their body.


I had not expected to hear it at a Cirque du Soleil show, even if it was 100% accurate. If the kids noticed the language, they gave no indication, too busy fighting over the bag of popcorn that we passed and spilled back and forth down the row.

“Oh my God! No way! No way! Did you see the flip?! How is that even possible?! At the last show…”

I harrumphed in my seat, well aware of the rising tide of exhaustion and annoyance. After a full day of conference calls and last-minute deadlines, we had picked the kids up directly from school, hightailed it down to United Center, plied them with low-mess snacks which they nevertheless managed to spill all over the car, then side-stepped puddles in torrential rain to arrive at the Big Top cold, shivering and wet…which would have been fine had we not been seated in front of the cooling system.

And now, I had to endure the non-stop MST3000 commentary from No-Filter Man.

“Wait, are they fish? Look at that! They’re waving their tails like fish! That’s hilarious!”

I could turn around. I could give him the Disapproving Stink Eye that my kids, unfortunately, know all too well. Or I could-

“Olivia! Stop cramming all of the popcorn into your mouth! That’s disgusting!”

Nick yanked the bag from his sister’s grasp, spilling most of the contents into the aisle. “Now look what you made me do!”

“It’s not A Gusting, Nick. You’re A Gusting!”

“That’s not even a word,” Nick retorted, then bent into the aisle, cupping his hand.

“What are you doing,” I hissed.

He shrugged. “Five-second rule.” The d’uh was implied.

Gabe popped his fingers out of his mouth long enough to complain, “Great! Now there’s no popcorn for me!”

“Gabe, quiet! Nick, you are NOT eating food from the floor.”

“Yeah, A Gusting,” Olivia chimed in.

“Still not a word,” Nick muttered.

“We are here to watch the circus and have fun,” I snapped, and that’s when I saw it. The harrumph from the row in front of us, the sideway glance, the smug shake of the head.


What do you know, Mr-Hipster-Hat-Who’s-Blocking-My-Kid’s-View? Just wait until you have kids and try to give them some cultural enrichment! You have no idea what we’re going through back here! If you could just step out of your Portlandia Paradise for one minute and stop judging us –

I froze.
Then blinked.
Or rather I tried.
But the beam in my eye wouldn’t let me.

Breathe. Accept. Release.

No-Filter Man resumed his commentary, or maybe he’d never stopped and I just hadn’t noticed. But now I heard his joy, the immediacy of his wonder. And now, I could hear the murmured assent from his companion. I sneaked a glance at the couple – his eyes wide with excitement, her head content on his shoulder, their hands intertwined.

“They must practice at least 5 hours a day. Maybe more.”
“Mmm Hmm.”

Nick still tried to convince me that not all of the popcorn was dirty. Olivia still complained about her sight lines. And Gabe still mewed about not having enough to eat.

“”Mmm Hmm,” I replied to each.  “At intermission, we’ll get a new bag of popcorn and split it into 3.”

The I smiled, leaned back, and finally enjoyed The Show.

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