Q: I love listening to the Sunday morning orchestra rehearsals outside the Aspen Music Festival and School’s Benedict Music Tent. Last week, however, the gentleman seated next to me on the lawn posed an annoying distraction as he read the entire New York Times cover to cover during the concert, loudly turning pages. First came the real estate section, then business, followed by arts and culture, travel, the Book Review, and Week in Review. By the time he got to the styles section and wedding pages, I was ready to conk him over the head with my travel coffee mug. Should I have spoken up, or since both of us were enjoying the concert for free, just suffered in silence as I did?
A:If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard the same complaint (not to mention each time I butcher the spelling and pronunciation of Prokofiev), I could afford an AMFS season pass instead of being stuck outside getting shushed by people irked at the rustling pages of my
Sunday Times. Just kidding—I read it on my iPhone.
Even though the lawn is designated for non-ticketed patrons, people are there for the music, so it’s completely reasonable to nicely ask the sound polluters to limit their noise. If their page turning (or whispering, chip eating, or baby fussing) persists, though, you might see if an usher will help reinforce the unspoken no-speaking lawn policy. If your lawn neighbors still can’t keep quiet, don’t fold up your blanket and go home without first offering to show the noisemakers how to download the New York Times app on their phone. It’s much cheaper and quieter than the actual paper (as long as the phone stays on mute, that is).