I could write a really wonderful overview, thoughts, reactions, etc. to yesterday's North Portland Candidate's Forum. Candidates for US Senate, City Commission and Portland Mayor were all in attendance, mere blocks from our house, and for three hours we heard enlightening answers, differing opinions, and I had some real clarification on who I would and wouldn't be voting for in our upcoming election. I could write about all that, but instead, I'm going to tell you about being shushed.
AdRi and I turned our phones off. We don't speak (more than an occasional whisper) when speakers are at the mike. I like to think we're courteous audience members. So we were completely taken off guard when a woman sitting in front of us whipped her head around during the forum to snap at AdRi and tell her to stop rustling her papers because she couldn't hear the speakers. And then she whipped back around, so quickly I was afraid her head would snap. Did I mention she wasn't nice about it? Well, she wasn't. AdRi and I stared at each other with our eyes wide open, and AdRi's mouth agasp. She had been shushed!
At the break, we moved a seat down so the grating abomination of turning a piece of paper would not set the woman's head afire. Her colleague, however, whipped her head around and threw daggers out of her eyes at a few people sitting in the top corner of the auditorium who may have dared to say a few words to each other during the forum. She did this several times, and then cupped her ear to ensure she could hear the words being said from the stage.
A few things: the audio system was good. This was in a university auditorium, with good acoustics. I guess I just didn't know there were professional and appointed shushers in the crowd.
And sure enough, after it was over, the original shusher attempted to engage us in why the papers bothered her and how she was there to listen and if there was really a reason we needed to actually read the agenda and background information about the candidates that was passed out to all attendees. Sigh. This is what I think: Shushers should sit in the front row.
I'm now finding it quite entertaining to shuffle and ruffle all papers and paperwork when around AdRi. And we're both practicing our head whipping around talents. It's not easy.
P.S. People who stood out for me during the forum? Frohnmayer for Senate, Nick Fish and Charles Lewis for City Council, and Sam Adams for Mayor. But I'm not completely decided on any of those yet, just my take from the forum. Now shush it!