front row view

There was a time when front row seats were avoided like the plague. seats would get filled from the back row. That’s where the fun was. Am obviously talking about school and classes. Front row was for the nerds and the goody two shoes. Or for the ones who came in late.

Then we grew up. Somewhere some soul decided to raise the bar. I am guessing the person was a long suffering booted to the front by the class bully individual. It all comes back to haunt you. The jeers, the jokes and the teachers’ inevitable large blind spot, even if you were an amazon in the land of dwarfs and were doing bird calls with your hand raised for an answer. Maybe it didn’t hit home that it was precisely the reason they were in the front row in the first place!

I attend a yoga class religiously and there are some regulars and then there are some who float in and out. I realized the other day I was a front row person. It came as quite a shock that I would actually want to be right up there under her nose doing the downward dog, instead of disappearing into the shadows and hoodwinking on the downward dog.

This didn’t home until yesterday when I was buying recital tickets for munchkin’s Jazz performance. For some reason, which will remain a million dollar question left unanswered by most of us, recital tickets for ballet and jazz schools get sold out within hours. No, am serious. For that brief 3 minute appearance of a munchkin wearing the exact same dress as at least 15 others around her to do a hop and a skip, entire families spanning a couple of generations assemble in the middle clutching roses. The talent is the last thing on anyone’s mind, and along with the smiles, the general accolades that flow for that brief stint, the school/studio reaps it all in.

Okay, am being cynical there, and yes, I’ll grudgingly agree that one cannot force a dollar value on your precious pumpkin’s centerstage appearance.

So, I walk into the studio to live up to my parental duties of coughing up the necessary dollars to seemy munchkin pirouette around and what do I see but a paper FULL of gray. What? I exclaim. Yes, says the lady being the counter with an air of nonchalance subdued only by forced politeness and tolerance to the parents who have invariably sighed and gasped at the lack of good seats for the performance.

What are my choices? I ask.

Having just trooped back in from a fieldtrip in the warm mute sun minding wandering 7 year old girls in a SEA of 7-8 year olds from all over the area (not just the school), I was in no mood to make small talk or cackle my way into any respectable position in the audience.

She points a sharp pencil to the very first half empty row and then the very empty back row on top of the balcony.

Wow. I exclaim. I’ll take two in the front.

I pause. Really? Two in the front. I’ll be seeing up their beige stockings. Maybe I should go back after all. I’d get to see formations and the colors and the straight lines the tiny bodies form. Sure, it would take me a full minute to win the “spot the munchkin” contest between me and my husband and before we can hone in on her like parental hawks and grin, she’d be bidding us goodbye. So I flipped the decision a few times in my mind.

Yes, I’ll take the two in the front.

I’ll see my munchkin up close and she will see us up close. She will wear a grin and we will wear our grins and that moment alone would compensate for the $30 check I wrote in a swift motion before I could change my mind and whine.

There were one too many other things I could choose to whine about later in the van ride back home.

Front row seats.

Now I am a conscious by choice front row seater. I don’t mind not knowing the answers to questions that may fly at me anymore. I do know I’ll get the view that I will enjoy, may not be the best view that most of the world wants or cares for, but my eyes will love what they see and for that I will bear the cross of the front row.

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6 thoughts on “front row view

  1. ;) You too, eh? I was one of the almost back-benchers. But the smart ones. Now, I am in the front to make sure I can surreptitiously wave to my high schooler who is in the Choir ;). Smart, no? He pretends that the program-waving lady armed with a million dollar camera does not belong to him even though we are the only two Indians in a 7 mile diameter.

  2. What is it with older ones refusing to acknowledge one’s parents. We attended a school play this morning for the 2nd grader and were in the last row. We arrived 3 mins before show started :)

  3. this post reminds me of my college days. I was a front bencher and my husband the-very-last-bencher. Never did we acknowledge each other properly until third year, second sem. I can totally relate to what you are saying rads. ;-).

    I am sure the little one will have no problem finding you guys during her performance, if seated in front row and her grin then would be priceless! :D

    Siri

  4. A very clear choice of words, this :) Enjoyed reading. The same question popped up in my mind the other day when a friend’s daughter’s school performance tickets that we were holding were in big demand (we couldn’t go finally) and were given grateful ack once we let go of them!

    - Soumya

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