One Minute and Counting [Performance Fiction]


The man next to me must have had something with garlic for lunch. I've only arrived to this conclusion because he is mouth breathing throughout the entire show. Perhaps he is in awe or maybe I’m overthinking it. It could simply be a deviated septum or habitual relaxed jaw. Nonetheless, it adds strain to an already unenjoyable viewing experience. The lights are hot on my forehead, but the bench seats are cold and hard. We are packed in tightly. My back is getting tired, because the benches have no cushions or back support. As if committing to an unspoken trio, the women to my left, the mouth breather to my right, and I take turns discreetly adjusting the weight around the cushy parts of our butts. I feel confused, bored, and all the things that cross my mind when watching something I fail to find resonance. What time is it? Has it been 60 minutes yet? I look forward to smacking my hands together for the final applause. 

The performer wafts past me. I smell earthy perfume mixed with body odor. Here she comes again. Whoosh! The weight of her body softens the wood panel beneath my feet. “Turn off your phone” she mouths at the mouth breather when his phone dings with notifications. Of course I find this call out satisfying. Okay, now I think I get it. It only took 40 minutes or so, but I grasp tightly to a tiny nugget of familiar cognizance that helps me piece together my impressions. This piece is a disjointed manifestation of regurgitated moments from her mind. There is no road map, no syllabus. She makes no attempt to help me understand how it’s connected, but I’m okay with my lack of understanding? And really, so what? I don’t think she cares if I get it or not. It’s not for me. Neither she nor I will lose sleep over it. Chalk it up to another ethereal post-modern, White aesthetic dance piece. What I find most unfortunate is that this piece will find some corner in my brain to bury itself to resurface even when I don't want it to. I guess she'd say mission accomplished. I wonder what assumptions she expects me to walk in with to witness this work (or not). Is there something I should know that will better prepare me next time? Although, I doubt there will be a next time. If I see her name on any glossy billing, I will politely turn the other way. No hard feelings. Is it time? YES! let the unenthusiastic applause ensue. So long to the mouth breather!

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