Some friends went with David and I to see Lewis Black at the Florida Theater last night. The theater is very old school, very beautiful. A true "theater-going experience" kind of theater.
Now I realize, even when we lived in LA, people showed up to the theater in jeans. Jeans aren't that big of a deal anymore because everyone has a range of jeans styles to fit many occasions. We've got the light jeans with the holes in the knees, the pair that we've had forever and refuse to let go of despite the fact that the Boot Cut did not make the Spring line's short list, the tailored "work" jeans with a slight pleat and trouser fall, and even the hot and sexy dark jean for a fabulous night out on the town. No, my frustration did not lay with the jeans.
My frustration became nearly uncontrollable a little further north. Hats. Granted, hats come in as many situational styles as jeans. However, the people here in Jacksonville don't seem to know this. It used to be that the only hats you saw in the theater were on the heads of the Red Hat Society, a fabulous group of women (50 or older) who nurture the class and dignity of growing old gracefully and with style. We used to laugh at them when we were kids, but now I can't wait 'till I'm 50. This, unfortunately, is no longer the case. I saw Gator fans, John Deere fans, Miami fans, Budweiser fans, Nascar fans, and Jaguar fans. How did I know they were fans? Because they wore their ball caps into the theater.
Ok, I thought. It's cold. Perhaps they unwittingly forgot to take the ball cap off of their head when leaving the house out of pure instinct to "survive" this 30 degree weather. Once we get inside the theater and sit down on the 1920 velvet seats and begin to gaze upon the ornate stylings of a theater dipped in rich tradition and architectural beauty that has stood the test of time, surely then they will notice that they've still got their redneck hat on and take it off, embarresed that someone will have noticed this faux paus. Surely.
As the lights went down, the music faded, and Mr. Black took the stage, not only did the hats stay snuggly attached to the heads of these buffoons, but the buffoons adusted them, waved them around, and even held onto the brims during fits of laughter as if to share the funny moment with a great and trusty old friend. It was a sad display of a new generation with no undestanding of the culture, the ritual, the mores that come with the theater. This is not a movie. It's not a sporting event. It's the theater. And while Mr. Black might not care what the poor saps who paid $90 a pop to listen to him scream and swear for 2 hours are wearing, I'll gladly be the first to say it and say it proud: Attention Rednecks. There is a boat show at the convention center downtown today. Wear your ballcaps to that.