Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Day at the Opera

It does not happen very often. But on a rare occasion there will be a spark of creative humor that rises up from within. The story I wish to weave is one such moment, and it is made even better by being a true story.

Let's turn back the clock just a bit. I was living in Houston at the time, and this was before I had begun transition from male to female. A dear friend had two season tickets to the Houston Grand Opera and I was her gay male friend to take as a date since I loved opera so. Skip, my husband until he passed away in 1997, thought it was a grand idea.

(There is a whole story about how I made the change from gay guy to lesbian woman, but that'll have to wait.)

So she came by to pick me up, each of us dressed suitably for the occasion. We had our obligatory soda, then a trip to the rest room before going in to sit down in our designated seats. Here we were, first act of two, and the music was lovely. I settled back into my chair to allow the music sweep over me. About midway through the first act, I felt my friend squirming in her seat a bit. Glancing at her I saw her face, appearing a bit irritated and uncomfortable. I'm thinking, how could she not be enjoying this opera? It really was quite good. We would certainly discuss this at the break I thought and my attention turned back to the music.

Soon we got to the break, and my friend seemed most anxious to get out. I couldn't help notice her steal a bit of a hateful glance towards the man sitting next to her as he and his wife rose also to leave.

My friend and I sat at a table near the entrance. "Girlfriend, what on earth is going on?"

"That man sitting next to me? The lecherous bastard can't keep his hands to himself. I didn't know what to do!"

In that moment, the Great Muse In the Sky whispered in my ear. "Time for theater," she said. She was right as rain.

Looking into my friend's eyes, I tell her, "I know just what to do."

Back inside we go, immediately after the man and his wife have themselves taken their seat. Per instructions, I tromp down the aisle first, dressed in my best high queen. It's show time girls! I'm flitty and my voice goes into the worst possible gay stereotype, limp wrist and a swish to the step. As we go to take our seats, me next to the lecher in question, before sitting I turn to my friend. "Darling, you should have seen the men there last night. Oh so adorable and one had the cutest little butt you ever did see!"

Next to the offender I plop down. I turn leaning towards him, "Oh hello there now."

He gives me a stare of disgust, of anger, of irritation. I also detected a bit of nervousness. Now it was came my part!

The orchestra warmed up, and the second act began. I placed my arm on the rest, nudging him as I did so. I let my leg lean into his. He pulled away. Boldly I wink at him. Whenever he moved away, I occupied more of his space. He was squirming now, leaning into his wife not sure what to do. He sat there uncomfortable and confused and seething. Then there were five minutes left before final curtain. He couldn't stand it anymore. Up from his seat he rose, motioning for his wife to come as well, grumbling "Let's go. I've seen enough." Someone behind us goes Shhhhh. As his wife moved past me, she looked me right in the eye, smiled and mouthed the words, "thank you."

Clearly he'd done this sort of thing before. She'd enjoyed this performance play out as much as my friend. After the opera we laughed about what had just happened. Those moments of clarity are rare, and the visits of that particular Muse more so. I could only be thankful, for it was the perfect response and a good laugh and memory were icing on the cake. In the truest sense of the word, this man experienced justice.

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