It's a good thing that Mom is not the theatre critic for the local news paper. Mom and her girlfriends have had season tickets to the local summer theatre for the last six, maybe ten, years. It is always a festive occasion. She looks forward to the shows from when she buys her tickets in April. Their tickets are always for opening night, when there is an elegant reception of sparkling wine and nibbles.
For at least the past two years, that I've noticed, she has not enjoyed the performances. She can't tell me about the play, she can't tell me what the story was about.
She complains about all sorts of things: the show started too late, it ran too late, she got home too late, it's too cold in the theatre, the theatre is too far away, she fell asleep, the play only had two actors, people were pushy, and the actors all spoke funny. She complains that the actresses wore those old fashioned long dresses when it's July and much too hot, they should know better.
She can't follow the story. She can't remember what I said five minutes ago, how is she going to remember a cast of characters and follow their conversation. She no longer understands satire. She no longer gets political humor. She can't follow along with banter and innuendo. She once enjoyed the performances - now it's all over her head.
I asked her this spring if she wanted to add a ticket for the youth summer theatre performance of Charlotte's Web, as it was one of her favorite stories that she read to her second graders. "No, no, there will be too many kids running around." What a grouchy response from a former teacher.
But it's right in line with her only response to a movie we saw together last summer, "at least there weren't kids running around the theatre, yelling and throwing popcorn." But, Mom, did you like the movie?