Here is a "charming" video starring the Australian cast of The Lion King, singing "The Circle of Life." On a plane. This is supposed to be cute, but in fact it's my worst nightmare, because there's nothing worse than being trapped in an enclosed space and subjected to talent.
I've got nothing against "The Circle of Life." I might even shell out $30 or so to go see the Broadway show if I had a day off and some cousins were in town. But there's a big difference between seeking out a little culture and being plopped in the middle of a bunch of Broadway singers, escape routes blocked. Because when a large group of professional (or even semi-professional, or pretty-sure-they're-just-as-good-as-professional) singers start up, there's only one socially acceptable reaction, and that's to be so excited! Look at this free concert!! Ain't life grand?! Clap, clap like your life depends on it!
It's like being stuck at Nero's violin recital.
Look at their fellow passengers and how excruciatingly awkward this is for them. No one knows how to respond. So now they're stuck on an airplane and dealing with this weird social situation. It's not enough that they're worrying about cramming their legs and their luggage underneath the seat in front of them; now they're expected to respond appropriately to live entertainment, as well. It's too much!
Not to mention that some of us are scared shitless of flying and prefer to spend the moments before takeoff managing our panic spiral by reciting airplane safety statistics/guzzling vodka. Musical theater would come as an unwelcome distraction. (A couple of valium, on the other hand...)
If nothing else, think of the poor flight attendants trying to do their jobs. It's hard enough getting passengers to cooperate without having to yell over a Tony Award-winning musical at the front of the plane.
Nor are airplanes the only inappropriate place for a musical flashmob/impromptu performance. I was once stuck on an unmoving subway train with pack of teenaged choral singers who decided it was a good time for Christmas carols. I love Christmas carols! But I do not love Christmas carols in captivity. You can't force me to be cheerful, high school choral singers! I am not obligated to reciprocate in your holiday cheer! At least the quartets and the "SHOW TIME!" kids are looking to pick up a little extra cash, rather than adulation.
It's like those dudes on the street who tell you to smile. I will not smile and you cannot make me.
Maybe some of the people on this plane were hungover. Maybe someone was headed home for a funeral, or despises musical theater. Maybe some of passengers were just crotchety farts like me! Whatever. The point is, it's actually pretty rude to force a bunch of people to passively participate in your naked attempt to produce a viral video to promote the Brisbane production of The Lion King.
Join me next week, when I rail against banks giving away free lollipops.