I rush up the steps to the school’s main doors. Fifteen minutes early for a change, my intention is to grab two seats, one for me and one for my wife who is parking the car. Dodging dawdling couples, I burst through the doors of the school and race down the hall. Usain Bolt wouldn’t stand a chance against a parent determined to get a good seat for their child’s holiday performances.How many seats can you save at your kid's holiday performance? #NoSeatSaving Click To Tweet
There they are: the two perfect seats. Not too close, not too far. There are another six seats between the nearest person and the one I plop myself into, throwing my jacket onto one for my wife. All seems well.
Hyperventilating after my Olympic performance, I imagine myself receiving the gold medal. First place in the International Holiday Performance Seat Grab Competition goes to Robert Glover! The crowd stands and hollers. Tears in my eyes, I step to the podium. The “Star-Spangled Banner” plays in the background.
“Excuse me,” a voice whispers to my left.
Another competitor is about to congratulate me on my victory. I’m a good sport. I intend to take the compliment with the same humble and gracious demeanor I always project. I’m not about to let this victory swell my head. Time to work through my victory speech.
I turn my head. A female competitor. This is an open competition. Both sexes battle on equal footing. I nod. The speech: I couldn’t have done this without the support of my loving wife and family. Then the words that violate all rules of engagement. A first class penalty. Instant disqualification.
“I’m saving these seats.”
The music ends in an off-key whine. The applause stops. The crowd is silent. “What?” I ask.
“I’m saving these seats for my family.”
Eight seats? Eight saved seats? How can this be? “Oh, okay,” I say. Ashamed, I step down off the podium, assaulted by a cavalcade of rotten fruit and vegetables.
My Holiday Performance Dream
My real dream has nothing to do with Olympic events. My real dream is to tell off one of these seat-hogging parents, and tell them to stuff their saved seats in Santa’s sack. It’s December, and Colleen has another performance approaching. I imagine how the holiday seat scrum is going to transpire this season:
I sit down. Prudently and judiciously, magnanimously showing respect for all, I place my jacket on the chair adjacent, saving one, and only one, seat for my wife.
“Excuse me,” says a woman all the way at the other end of the row. A cavernous distance lies between us. Forty seats crawl away from me like caterpillar segments.
She’s so far away, I shout back. “What?”
“These seats are taken.” I hear her words as a distant echo, something shouted from a mountain peak on the other side of a valley. Yo-de-lay-hee-hooooo!
I smile. “Yes.” I nod. “They are.”
“No,” she says, “you don’t understand. I’m saving them for family and friends.”
My robo-smile plays on. “I understand,” I say. “Your friends and family are out of luck.”
Her jaw drops. Someone has violated the unwritten law of seat-saving. The stone-tablet decrees passed down through generations of holiday performances. Never has anyone dared question these sacred proclamations.
Judging by the reaction from the crowd, I can tell this is a breakthrough moment for a lot of people. Men and women, liberated from a blind obedience to archaic laws of seat-saving, begin to protest. Fights break out. Holiday sweaters rip, candy canes crackle. Two men fly into a sparkling tree, while Mrs. Riggs tinkles “Deck the Halls” on piano.
The lady from down the row launches herself at me, her eyes not filled with visions of sugarplums. They’re beady, red ornaments, burning with Yuletide hate. I dance out of the way, and she skids into the refreshment table. “That one’s for Santa!” I say.
She comes at me again, ready to nail me with the fruitcake of fury. I grab a gingerbread man and crack her one, then face-plant her into a bowl of marzipan.
“Nobody’s taking me down this Christmas season, Momma!”
I’ve started a movement: #NoSeatSaving. It’s a Christmas miracle.
Holiday Performances Hysteria
If only it were that easy, that simple to buck hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years of tradition built up around holiday performances. I can’t bring myself to fight it. Plus, I have a feeling I might be the one face-down in the marzipan.
We can dream though, can’t we? Let’s face these holiday performances together. What’s your worst seat-saving story?