Full Of Culture


I am all about the culture right now. I mean, I have had throat cultures, nose cultures and, well, other gross things. I’m full of culture.

I also attended the theater with my baby sister last Friday. So, I have culture coming out of my ass.

I met my sister at my mother’s house and was pleased that Middle sister was there as well. My uncle is visiting and my mother told me that the only rule was no politics. None. We all voted the same way and we’re all grieving.

We made it about 5 minutes.

My uncle was pleased to hear the term “Cheetoh Sporkhands” even though he kept changing it to “Cheetoh Porkhands”.  I was happy to eat my mother’s vegetable soup and spend time with both of my sisters.

Baby sister and I drove separately as we go home in opposite directions. She followed me and I followed the nice lady in my phone. Even though I’ve lived in the greater Cincinnati area for all but 10 of my 53 years, I am never quite sure how to navigate downtown. Here’s the super sad thing. I worked downtown for 7 years. I walked those streets nearly every day at lunch. Still. Not quite sure what street the Aronoff theater sits on.

Anyway, we pulled into the first pay lot we saw and the rows were full. The lot ended in a brick wall, so there was no graceful way to pull around and get back out.

I went first and just as I was about to pull back out on the one way street, I see a dude gesturing to me to park in the aisle over, the opposite direction of the one way street.

Does…does he want me to drive on the sidewalk? I think he wants me to drive on the sidewalk.

I drove on the sidewalk and he helped me back into a spot. At one point, he offered to get in the car and park for me, but I persevered.

My sister was behind me and did not see the guy who gestured to me. She just saw me turn against traffic down the goddamn sidewalk. She thought I lost my marbles. She said she was yelling “WOAH WOAH WOAH, my sister…what are you doing? Oh god, she’s gone crazy.”

In my family, that is a legitimate fear. 

Anyway, we got decent parking spots, which was good, because I wore a short sleeve dress with a flimsy poncho. It was nippy out. I also wore my fabulous purple boots even though Randy warned me because I’d be walking too much. I told him he was being silly and I was totally right. I mean, my feet stopped hurting by Sunday night.

Baby sister was beyond excited. She had wanted to see Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the aranoffOpera since she was in high school. A long time ago. A long long long long time ago.


I saw Phantom of the Opera somewhere between 25 and 30 years ago. I think. My ability to correctly place a memory in the right time frame is iffy. I just assume everything was around 5 years ago. Anyway, that was the first stage production I had ever attended and I loved it.

It’d be nice if I could say that I loved it so much I started attending all the theater I could, but I didn’t. I do love seeing a live show, but I haven’t made it a priority. It’s not like I haven’t seen other shows, but I haven’t seen many other shows.

The biggest problem I have with stage shows is really just one of my biggest problems. I have the attention span of a toddler on crack.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the show, I did. The sets and effects were stunning and the singing impeccable. Still, I am me.

Well, this is awesome. Amazing. This bit is a little long, though, right? And why did they build an opera house on top of an underground lake? I would think sink holes would be an issue. And the phantom wasn’t a secret or anything. I mean, he was presenting them with a monthly bill. Real phantoms don’t submit invoices. At least I don’t think they do. 

Mostly, my mind didn’t wander and the show was mostly perfect. But not quite.

I sat next to an older dude who sneezed no less than six times during the performance and pretty much kept up a solid stream of nose blowing.

Oh fuck no. Really? Goddammit so much. I just got over being sick. TWICE. 

But did it stop there? No. No it did not. He apparently really loved Phantom of the Opera because he fucking hummed through the whole thing. Hummed. I mean, it wasn’t loud humming. It wasn’t audible to my sister on the other side of me, which is awesome. I would have hated for her to be distracted by the hummer in the next seat. Hey…hey hey hey. Don’t be perverted. You know what I meant. 

I didn’t have the courage to tell him to cut it the fuck out. I mean, the aisles were narrow and we were one row from the very back. I wouldn’t have been able to get away. I would have had to sit there next to him and that would have made the struggle to gain real estate on our shared chair arm more awkward. There probably would have been elbow throwing and no one needs that.

Even with Sniffles McSnifferson, it was a fun time. I can’t post pictures of both me and my sister because little sister was very clear about “no goddamn pictures on the internet”.  Seriously, she is very sweet. Mild mannered even. I didn’t even suggest that I would post her picture on the internet (although I was minutes away from posting our selfie on Facebook.) when she bared her teeth and snarled at me. I swear, I saw her eyes glow red. “No pictures of me anywhere.”

Honestly, I was a little afraid.

Haha. Just kidding. She’s not scary.

I guess we’re officially in the holiday season now, aren’t we? I haven’t had much in the way of holiday spirit for the past 3 or 4 years. I’m going to see if I can find some.

Here’s to hoping this week goes without a hitch. I need some hitchlessness. I’ve been full of hitch lately. I’ve been hitchful. I would like to not give a hitch. Maybe through the end of the year? Or is that asking too much?

Here’s to finding holiday spirit! I suspect it is in eggnog, but I do not enjoy drinking nutmeg flavored phlegm.


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  • Now I know why I get you so well. Born and raised in Cincy. Moved to Az when I was 36, still miss home. I suspect you might be from the west side though…. LOL Have a great holiday, fake it till you make it

  • Culture coming out your ass sounds so much better than culture going in your ass. I’m glad a good time was had by all though and that you didn’t lose your mind, although between the sneezing and the humming it would have been perfectly understandable if you had.
    As much as I love live theater and seeing movies in the theater sometimes I feel compelled to speak to the people around me to remind them they’re not alone and that they should stop talking, put away their damn cell phones, or, at the very least, please don’t sit directly in front of me when there are a hundred open seats.

  • Sounds like it was a treat for your sister. At risk of sounding like the old lady that I am, I remember when it was quite during a production. Someone with the sniffles or sneezes watched in the doorway standing. Humming! Don’t get me started on the eating and the singing along. This is not a concert but musical theatre! No humming!!

  • I really hate sitting though a show. I can just about deal with a film at the cinema if it is good and short. I really would rather stand up at the bar drinking a glass of wine and wait for the show to finish. In fact that is always what I end up doing.

  • You are sooooo much better at people than I (me). (Never sure on that one one… 🙂 )
    I don’t enjoy large gatherings of people in ANY venue. Your feet may have quit hurting by Sunday, but my head would still be vibrating and echoing a week later.
    There would be no air for me to breathe. It would have been all breathed up.
    Thank you for sharing the fun (and hesitations) you had with Little Sister.
    I LOVE theater by proxy!
    It’s my favorite way to go!
    And I am with you on the no visible way to drive and park! Pulled my own ‘driving stunt’ in Salem and lived so *high five’s Michelle* that’s how we roll and damn it can be exhilarating… but, sidewalk driving should be something to avoid for another 20… OK, 10 years.
    Culture does come in many accessible forms…. but be wary of the culture in your butt, throat and nose. Too expensive and no guarantee you can embrace the experience…

  • I have been going to theater since I was 3 years old and saw my first show on Broadway, “Fiddler on the Roof.” Hundreds of shows. If I had that guy sitting next to me and humming I would have shushed him in about 3 seconds. You’ll get the hang of it after a few more shows 🙂

  • Major props to you, girl! You’re better than me. I would have lost it on sniffle pants there. It’s been probably 38 years since my last trip to the theatre. As I child, I loved it. As an adult, like you, my ADD would kick in and I’d be checking my cellphone for some signs of relief. Power to ya for taking little sister!. I hope it gets better. 🙂


  • I’ve also been seated in a theater near someone who should have stayed home until they were well. Sometime I can move, but not often. What drives me crazy is the person that sits nearby (restaurants also) and is saturated in some overpowering perfume or cologne – usually cheap crap. Instant headache and, with some scents, I can’t quit smelling it for the next 12 hours. I’ve had to wash the clothing I was wearing because it absorbed the perfume, and no amount of airing worked.

  • This was a bit of a roller coaster.

    I hate to admit it, but I have attention issues, too. I’m spoiled by the pause button, I guess.

    There was also the time that I tapped on a book I was reading to see what time it was, thinking I was reading on my tablet.

    I probably shouldn’t admit that, either.

  • I would have said really loud to the person behind me, “I hate it when people hum through the whole performance. ” I am on my second disease of the season after spending time with the 13 grandkids (never fails. I swear I need to start inhaling iron.) The next person that coughs or sneezes near me, will probably be in church so I’ll just have to be quiet.

  • I’ve been to hundreds of rock concerts ( I call them all rock concerts, but does Pat Metheney count as rock?) and many of them were seated, and to get decent seats, you have to be right in there with the crowd, so yeah, I’ve seen all kinds of questionable behavior at shows. Sometimes it can be sort of hilarious, like the time Briana offered a little plastic packet to the middle aged woman next to her at a Frank Zappa show, who demurred until she realized that they were earplugs.
    As for the culture (stop thinking about petri dishes, Doug) I’ve been to three George Coates productions (Rare Area, and Actual Sho twice), the Oakland Ballet’s production of “Rites of Spring” , a couple of plays (New TV, and The Dinner Date) by a company we met who worked at the coffee shop we frequented at the time who called themselves “Mass Productions”, but the best by far was when Briana won us tickets from a radio station to see ABT’s production of Romeo and Juliet, with Leslie Browne dancing the lead, back when Baryshnikov was artistic director. I can still see Leslie Browne leap from the window into her “nurse’s” arms when I close my eyes. I didn’t own any “formal” clothing, so I wore brown cords and a fisherman’s knit sweater my mother had made me, and I didn’t stand out too much. I have long hair, and back then there was a lot more of it, and I wore it flying that night, and after the show Briana told me that the little girl in the seat behind me was playing with it pretty much the whole time and telling her mom what pretty hair the lady in font of her had.
    I’m glad you got out to see something beautiful. It really helps. I can’t even express how much better I felt after seeing Neko Case at the Fox. It was like “Well, humanity can still manage this, so maybe we’re not a complete loss after all.”

  • Glad you had a great time! Hope it has started a great Holiday season. I think it’s def against the laws of nature for you to get ill again, although how rude of the man next to you!
    Humming- how inconsiderate. Equally as bad: person next door sat there slapping sweets and popcorn, audible above even the deafening volume in a cinema!

  • I have always wondered about a certain social experiment just waiting to happen. Put a guy in a yellow traffic vest and have him direct cars–whether they are parking or not. Have him direct people to drive on sidewalks, around fire hydrants, etc. I am betting 80% of people would do whatever he says:). Glad you missed any and all pedestrians.

  • This blog post was just all sorts of needed fun. It’s nice to have some fun laughter-rather than I’ve been known to have lately.
    I’m glad you did have some fun and see, family can be okay. Sometimes. In small doses.


  • I brought my two daughters to a Cirque Du Soleil show in Manhattan this past weekend; ages 23 & 16. At over $100 per ticket, I wasn’t interested in any other “kids” being in the audience, especially any I considered to be too close, able to invade my relatively expensive personal space. As luck would have it, a little girl was seated directly behind me under the cramped “Big Top”. She proceeded to kick my ass through most of the show – literally kicked me in the ass! Her tiny legs weren’t able to bend properly on her seat, allowing her Mary Janes to rest comfortably on the sticky floor below her. Instead, it felt as if she were training hard for a Taekwondo competition later that afternoon. It wasn’t until I turned around and shot the poor, innocent blonde child a death stare that she stopped kicking my ass. The show ended up being great, as all Cirque shows are. I just wish that from now on, children weren’t allowed in public.

    • Hahaha..I almost NEVER mind kids..it’s the adults in public that make me nuts. I wouldn’t have liked getting my ass kicked, though.

      I’ve never seen Cirque Du Soleil, but I’ve always wanted to.

By Michelle


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