The other night at the Hollywood Bowl, I was harassed by the Bowl security guards and a couple of women. Four different guards on four separate occasions asked to see my ticket. I was sitting in the Pool Circle, right in front of the stage. In order to get to your seat, the ticket is scanned then your hand is stamped. No one gets in unless they're scanned and stamped. So, one by one, these guards ask for my ticket, check it, hassle me because my ticket was for Seat 4 and I was standing at Seat 1. Each time, I let the guard know there were 4 of us in the group and I was certainly in the right place. After the 4th, and only apologetic, guard left, a woman approached me. [Sidebar: all of this is happening during the Fixx's set. Oh so wrong!] OK, woman approaches me, "Hi, this is my first time at the Bowl." Great, I say. You picked a good show to see for your first time here. "So, is this how it works? You stand while everyone else is sitting?" I look around. While some are sitting, a lot of the Pool Circle people are standing...I mean, the Fixx is singing "One Thing Leads to Another" and why would you sit? I tell her I came to dance to the *four dance bands* so that's what I'll be doing. "You're forcing me to stand." No. I'm not forcing her to do anything. "Well, we can't see because you're standing up and others are sitting down." I tell her I came to dance and have a good time. She says more things. I don't. She walks away. I keep dancing.
For the rest of the night, she and her friend(s) hurled insults at me. Psh. Whatever. I'm above that. But, I have to admit it was annoying. "Fat ass! Bitch! I think the B52s are onstage but I can't see!" And then she says it. The one name that hurts me more than any other.
She called me 'Lurch'.
To understand this, I have to go back to elementary school. A group of boys at Mountain View Elementary School tormented me relentlessly. They always seemed to find me on the playground. 'Jolly Green Giant' was the collective favorite. Innocently, I would counter that name with "I'm not even green!" which would cause much laughter. One day, the group found me and started the ritualistic teasing. One boy called me 'Lurch' and the collective laughed louder and harder than I'd ever heard. I had no idea what the word was or why it was so funny. Too bad I found out. That name stuck with me throughout elementary school and into part of the 7th grade.
When that grown-up mean girl called me 'Lurch' the other night, I had a physical reaction. I was going to throw up. I balanced myself against the chair to stop from trembling. Tears sprang to my eyes. I was in elementary school. Wow. I've said the word, I've heard the word, I've watched the show. But, when tossed at me, I couldn't get out of the way.
The rest of the show was spectacular ~ I danced and sang off-key and made new friends, who were sincerely supportive throughout the evening. I definitely got my money's worth. And those women got to see me enjoy myself. What was I supposed to do? I was supposed to do exactly what I did.
Janis Ian's 'At Seventeen' shuffled onto my iPod about 45 minutes ago. And I had a good cry. I just needed to get this out.