Ain't No Sound of Silence If Your Cell Phone's Still On

Some essential part of me has been forever shattered upon finding out, firsthand, that Paul Simon is only 5"2. He's teeny! He's tiny! You want to scoop him up and put him in your pocket! If I were to stand back to back with Paul Simon---let us briefly pause here and imagine a scenario where this would feasibly take place---I would, at five feet and six inches, tower over him. You do not want to tower over your beloved musical icons, I think. There's something really wrong about it.

Anyway, we saw Paul Simon tonight---teeny, teeny, tiny Paul Simon! Just one calorie!---at the Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco. We almost didn't see him, and it required a great amount of maneuvering on both my part and Sean's to ensure that we did. When the show was announced, you see, we were in Austin. Even though we promised ourselves that we'd tie a string around our finger and set fifteen alarms to go online and buy the tickets the minute they were released, we forgot about it---we were, instead, sitting in a cafe in Austin blithely eating cinnamon rolls, which is maddening---and within approximately six and a half seconds, the tickets were sold out for both nights. 

Then followed a whole bunch of weeks where I got really, really angry and then really, really sad when I remembered I wouldn't be seeing Paul Simon, who is, let us all agree, something of a living legend. (And yet only 5"2! It doesn't make sense!)

And then one weekend when I was down in San Diego, Sean called me.

"I have a surprise!" he said. "I have the best news ever! Paul Simon added another show and I bought us tickets the second they went on sale!"

"Wow!" I said. "That's amazing! You're amazing! Thank you!"

"Just one thing," he said. "The show's on Wednesday April 27th. When do you go to London again?"

"Wednesday," I said. "April 27th."

So that was kind of a bummer.

But this is why God invented Craigslist---or why Craig invented Craigslist, I guess---and we flew into action, trying to arrange to trade our Wednesday night tickets for Monday or Tuesday night tickets. Initially, I thought this might be a difficult thing to do, but after the seven hundred and eightieth email offering up cash, credit cards, diamonds, and newborn babies, I figured we'd sort it out.

It still was difficult, but more from a logistical point of view, rather than a dearth-of-offers type of one, and eventually, we arranged to sell our Wednesday night tickets to a very nice man called Nick and use the money to buy two Monday night tickets from a very nice man called Chris. And this is how I ended up pretty much sitting in Paul Simon's lap:

Okay, that picture does not do justice to how close we really were to the stage. Check out where everyone else had to sit:

Sorry, suckers!

The show itself was excellent---although rather lacking in Garfunkel, but what can you do---and we both enjoyed ourselves immensely, despite being about twenty years younger than the median age of everyone else in the audience. In fact, if I had to describe that audience with just one word I would use this one: dads. They all looked like your dad. There was a great sea of dads, lots of greying hair and corduroy, and it made me wish my own was there too. The guy sitting next to us, in fact, squinted into the audience right before the lights went down, turned to his girlfriend with a confused look on his face, squinted back again into the audience, and announced "dude, I think I see my parents."

(It was totally his parents!)

I've been to a lot of shows in my life and I think I can say that I'm finally getting to the age where I appreciate a nice cushy, assigned seat to standing around for hours, elbowing your way through throngs of sweaty people, and pretending to faint to get closer to the stage. And that's exactly what this one was: a nice grown-up concert. No jostling, no moshing, no messing around waiting for the opening band to finish its interminable act while using your oversized purse to protect the tiny half-inch of space you've claimed as your own: just into your seats, lights off, there he is.

But one person didn't get the memo, and that was the teeange girl behind us. During a quieter song, her cell phone rang. Mortifying enough, sure, but then she answered it.

"Hellooooooo?" she drawled.

Friends, I'm sure she would have got further with the conversation were it not for the collective snap of heads in her direction, the movement of which created an icy breeze that rivaled only the frosty stares from our entire row, some of which were so withering that they could have frozen the devil himself (yes, of course I'm talking about mine.)

That girl will not be answering her cell phone again at a concert, trust me. In fact, she probably won't ever be going to another concert because I'm willing to bet she's grounded for the next fifteen years. How do I know? Her dad was sitting next to her, of course.

1
Pretzel Thief
Apr 26, 2011

Squee! Here's to awesome concerts!

I saw Simon & Garfunkel in concert (WOO HOOOO!) June 2009 during their last ever Australian tour. After the tour announcement, I found out they'd be in Melbourne a few days after my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I would have left for Serbia and Croatia, and I was soooo peeved! So, on a whim, I bought a Sydney S&G concert ticket, scored a bargain with a sale airfare to Syd, arranged to stay with friends....

The concert was sooooo good, just magnificent!

Both Paul and Art sounded fantastic. I really felt like I'd witnessed and heard something truly special, not least because they are such a legendary band with so many classic, warm songs.

The next morning (Sunday; flew in Sat afternoon), I polished off a scrumptious brekky at Bondi before being dropped off at the airport...only to depart on Tuesday night with Husband for our glorious 6.5-week Balkania holiday, ahhhh!

Needless to say, I felt so "adventurous" for having gone to Sydney specifically for S&G, and a few days before leaving overseas, at that. Yeah, baby!

Oh, and I hear ya on the age thing...I was 24 at the time and surrounded by...well, dads. I'm sure they were looking at me and thinking, "Pfft, what does SHE know about Simon & Garfunkel, I was THERE." Heh heh.

2
Vicki
Apr 26, 2011

Paul Simon is only 5"2? What? How is that even possible? He's such a musical legend!
I am a HUGE Simon and Garfunkel fan, and I managed to get tickets to see Paul Simon on the British leg of his tour in June. Guess who I am going with? Yep you've got it in one, my Dad. We can't wait!

3
Krissa
Apr 26, 2011

I love everything about this story. And now I'm imagining my little tin of tic-tacs is filled with tiny Paul Simonses.

4
Kait Kettmann
Apr 26, 2011

I love that you saw Paul Simon but my very favorite thing about this is the "rather lacking in Garfunkel..."

I think I'm going to use that from now on to describe a perfectly wonderful, acceptable situation that's missing just a little something. (Although if it was a missing a "little" something perhaps I should say it's lacking in Simon, not Garfunkel, but whatever.)

5
Laura D
Apr 26, 2011

I simply love Simon & Garfunkel and though my girlfriend had never listened to them before we were together, she loves them as well now. Their songs can be so lively and happy or serious and at times melancholy, but it all still manages to ring true and not feel contrived. One of my college best friends is Garfunkel's niece, I always hoped that Uncle Art would just pop in to say hi one day...sadly this never happened.

6
-Jen
Apr 26, 2011

Simon and Garfunkel was the best concert experience I've ever had - and yes, I took my dad.

7
Min
Apr 26, 2011

While I normally love your blog, as a short person (4'6"), I actually find the opening paragraphs of this post quite offensive.

Would you post about fat person and discuss how much thinner you are then them? "Oh my gosh! I am so much thinner than him! He's so fat! Just fat, fat, fat! If I were to stand back to back with him, I would be in complete shadow! You do not want to be completely shadowed by your completely fat beloved musical icons, I think. There's something really wrong about it."

Also, while you seem to try to be making an attempt at humour here, it's really NOT that funny to compare people to Tic-Tacs. We're PEOPLE, not objects.

8
Thespian Libby
Apr 26, 2011

"...rather lacking in Garfunkel." Perfect.

9
Yvonne
Apr 26, 2011

Oh my God Are you people so shallow! How can you call yourself a fan and not even be aware of how tall he is?! Are you serious?

10
Leanne
Apr 26, 2011

I attended to a similar concert of seated dads, too, to see Paul Simon! Bob Dylan was headlining that show, and even though I went to see Dylan, I was mesmerized when Simon took the stage. Did you know he (at least used to) wears lifts to appear taller?

I, too, would have offered you cash, credit, or future children for your tickets. He's amazing!

11
Lawyerish
Apr 26, 2011

That sounds like my kind of concert! I am totally down with the dad crowd. I felt the same way when we went to see Neil Diamond a few years ago -- we got to sit for some songs and dance to others, and it was all a blast, even while being very civilized. And yet, some dude got in a BRAWL near us and had to be removed by security. At a NEIL DIAMOND concert.

I am holding out hope that Simon (and perhaps Garfunkel) will one day do a free concert in Central Park again. I would be all over that.;

12
PinkieBling
Apr 26, 2011

There is one show remaining on my concert bucket list at this point in my life, and that is Paul Simon. I am indescribably jealous!

13
Kim
Apr 26, 2011

I COMPLETELY 100% agree about the whole really enjoying a cushy pre-assigned seat thing. I went to see Bob Dylan with my husband and my parents (what? they are super cool, thank you very much.) and we had seats really close to the stage and it was amazing. And, hey, I didn't get ANY bruises! Nor did I have to knock a bitch down to see better! Super win.

14
Kim
Apr 26, 2011

I COMPLETELY 100% agree about the whole really enjoying a cushy pre-assigned seat thing. I went to see Bob Dylan with my husband and my parents (what? they are super cool, thank you very much.) and we had seats really close to the stage and it was amazing. And, hey, I didn't get ANY bruises! Nor did I have to knock a bitch down to see better! Super win.

15
Carroll
Apr 26, 2011

Envy! (Also, really happy for you -- smooth move on the tickets, Sean!) I actually saw S&G live in Boston back in the early '60s. I know, I know -- I'm really old :-) Awesome then, still awesome today. Three cheers for generation-spanning musical icons!

16
Kate
Apr 26, 2011

I live in Ohio and we have Blossom Music Center that has a pavilion and lawn seats. My sister and I went to see the Dave Matthews Band and decided that we are ancient and no longer ever going to sit on the lawn. It was comfy seats for us from now on. (We were 34 and 39) It also didn't help that one of the college kids said "it is nice that you old folks still get out to see concerts." Then he promptly lost his balance and would have rolled down the hill if his friend wouldn't have caught him. At first I was offended, then I just laughed.

17
Rebecca
Apr 26, 2011

I saw Paul Simon with Bob Dylan in an in-the-park concert in Duluth, Minnesota about 10 years ago . . . with my dad. This combined the jostling, moshing, messing around, and pot smoking with dads. The pre-concert waiting around portion was weird and uncomfortable. Once the show started, the weirdness turned into excellence.

18
Elizabeth
Apr 26, 2011

I love him, with or without Garfunkel. Saw him a few years back when he was touring with Bob Dylan. (I went once in Mountain View and once in Concord, and they traded who was headlining.)

I knew Paul Simon was short, but I didn't know his actual height. I am 5'2". It's not terribly short for a woman, but I am the anomaly in my very tall family, so I've always wanted to be taller. I now love my height. I'M AS TALL AS PAUL SIMON!!!

19
Camels & Chocolate
Apr 26, 2011

I love when Fate works things out like this. And I love the vigor with which you and Sean were determined to see Paul Simon. Did you wear a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches just to make sure you blended in?

20
Kristal
Apr 27, 2011

Still laughing a day later about the following:
"just one calorie..."
Blogging genius, as usual.

21
Shut The Folk Up
Apr 27, 2011

The best concerts are the ones you have to put effort into attending. Kudos, Holly. Kudos.

22
Julie
Apr 27, 2011

Holly, I love your website and think you are brilliant and funny. But I sort of have to agree with the commenter Min above. I'm sure you don't mean to offend, but being short (I'm 5'0" on a good day) isn't a handicap and doesn't preclude being a musical genius or anything else for that matter.

Otherwise, a wonderful post. Paul Simon is amazing, so glad you and Sean had the chance to see him.

23
Shannon
Apr 27, 2011

Soooo......I realized this a few hours after I read this the first time.

You're going to London. On April 27th. Where the Royal Wedding is happening???? OMG sooo exciting.

If you're next post is about how you got to go to the wedding I'm going to...Well, I don't know what.

I'll be tuning in to watch it live in the middle of the night in Vancouver.

I can't wait to read your post from London :)

24
Marcheline
Apr 28, 2011

You have SO hit a hot button with the whole cell phone issue. That's the main reason I don't go to movies in the theater anymore. Kids spending money to go sit in a theater where they spend the entire time texting to their friends who are sitting three seats away. I'm usually not for "big brother" type controls, but I really wish they would search bags and collect all cell phones before allowing entry to theaters, concert halls, and other performances. If someone has a call that's so important they can't give up their cell phone for two hours, then maybe they should watch the movie when it comes out on DVD.

25
liz
Apr 28, 2011

back in 2000 or so Paul Simon and Bob Dylan were on tour. I was fresh-out-of-college and barely-employed so i called my dad to remind him that the last concert we had seen together had been NKOTB (except they were still the New Kids back then) when he kindly chaperoned a gaggle of starstruck fifth-graders to an arena packed with preteen girls squealing about Donnie's overalls and Joey's baby blues. i asked him if he wouldn't like to try a concert together again, this time a show we might be able to both enjoy, and also wouldn't he like to pay for the tickets? I was definitely one of the youngest in the audience that night, but it was a great show.

26
Ris
Apr 28, 2011

At 5'1" I am always taken aback when I see women who are shorter than I am. If I can see over their head it is even weirder--I am tiny and yet they are tinier! They are defying the laws of how small a grown human should be! Now that I know Paul Simon is a mere one inch taller than I am, I just don't know what to do with that information. We should gather him, Rudi Giuliani, and Rahm Emmanuel together so that they can stand around and all look normal sized next to each other.

27
edj
Apr 29, 2011

Hey don't knock people who are 5'2".

28
Rachel
May 11, 2011

The "you can call me Al" video is great and is the first time I realized how tiny PS is - it's with Chevy Chase - check it out!

29
medical-x-ray
Jun 22, 2011

Funny article.

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