It was a green bow. A bright velvet hair ornament perfectly suited for the holiday, well chosen to compliment her outfit. But it almost ruined my afternoon.
New York is a colorful time during the Christmas season. It’s a great time to see the magnificent tree at Rockefeller Center and the store windows decorated for the holidays. For out of town grandchildren it is the perfect time to treat them them to The Nutcracker Ballet at Lincoln Center. Tschiakovsky’s music never sounded more beautiful, the costumes never looked more 18th century, nor the children performers so talentedly charming.
We were shown to our seats as if we were royal visitors and sat down just as the overture was beginning. I looked expectantly toward the stage and my line of vision swooped right onto…a green thing sticking up in the air? A grown woman adorned with a bow in her hair? A bow that was interrupting my sight of the stage? It wasn’t a hat that I could be ask her to remove, or a high and wide hair style about which to bemoan, but a wide bow with starched tips to resemble angel wings: straight up and stiffly in place. I could move my head to the side, getting an instant crick in the neck, sit on my coat, causing the ballet lover behind me to look at my head for two hours instead of the performance, or to concentrate on the the left side of the stage for whatever dancing I could catch sight of there.
It was quite discouraging and disappointing, but in a live performance you cannot simply move your seat elsewhere, as is an option in a movie theater. And you can’t pull closer to the stage, as is possible on your home television set.
And then, much to my delight and her posture’s gloom, she slouched. The grown woman with the green velvet bow slumped down in her chair, affording me an unblocked view of the unfolding story and beautiful dance performance. Her spine might suffer from a lifelong slumping habit but my eyesight will joyfully record the highlights of the ballet that is synonymous with the Christmas season.