Saturday, 7 March 2015
To confront or not to confront...
Imagine you have paid a sizable sum for a ticket to a concert that you have wanted to see for ages. You sit in your seat listening to the music and really enjoying the spectacle and then it happens... An older couple come in late and disrupt everyone as they take the seats directly behind you. First of all they do not even look like they have arrived at the right concert. Once they have settled they then proceed to moan. What's more, they talk so loudly that everyone in the area is aggravated by them. What do you do?
This happened to me and my friend last night. For a little while I fought myself. I am always the one who says what needs to be said. I understood this pair were unaware of how loudly they were talking; however, I really didn't care that the old woman really liked Julie and that they needed to pick up some cabbage for coleslaw. In truth the lack of awareness and consideration made me bristle. I glanced around to see how the rest of the nearby audience were reacting. You know what? They were aggravated but said nothing. The mental argument went something like this 'right I am aggravated now...'
‘Leave it, they are unaware and you don’t want to get into an argument. Plus someone else should say something.’
This mental argument went on and on and their chatting grew louder. Finally I turned around and asked them to make an effort to talk quietly. I was polite and firm. Their response amazed me as they attempted to justify talking through a concert. Admittedly they did quieten down; however, the husband wanted to take it further and said ‘what is wrong with me talking to my wife?.’
Answer: we have not paid money to hear about cabbage and how nice Julie is. (There were sniggers around the area) You have plenty of chance to talk to your wife elsewhere. Now I suggest you show some respect and allow everyone here to enjoy the concert or leave. There were a few here here’s from the surrounding group. The thing is I could feel the man’s anger. When it came to the interval he stood up in an attempt to intimidate me. Which is ridiculous since I am close to six foot and compete at rowing. So I stood up and was half a foot taller. I realised in that moment there was a divine comedy taking place. I was a woman confronting an older man in a public place in a polite and feminine way. Yet the man had to become aggressive. In addition, the music playing was all about conformity and rebellion. So this is it… and it made me think about people and characteristics. Is confrontation down to confidence? Why do so many people avoid confrontation? I feel that it was well within my rights to ask the couple to be quiet. Yet why couldn’t he accept that he was ruining other people’s experience? This made me think about unawareness and how unaware some people are of themselves and others. In some ways it fascinated me because the couple were classical stereotypes and their behaviour could be anticipated. In terms of writing and character – how the character confronts or avoids confrontation reveals a lot about them. So with that in mind… Would you have confronted or accepted the situation? What would have been the best way to resolve the situation?