Chris and I were eating at Applebee's, chosen for its close proximity to our ultimate destination, the movie theater. The restaurant's background music was fairly eclectic, jumping from UB40 to George Thorogood. Every now and again we'd comment on the playlist; largely we ignored it.
All was well until something came on that neither of us quite recognized. Some artist we had never heard before. Someone who ... wasn't very good, actually.
Realization dawned. It was karaoke night.
We did our best to resume the conversation, but we were thwarted at every turn. What the singers lacked in skill, they made up for in volume. Even the ones who weren't half bad managed to be annoying somehow.
We left without ordering dessert.
* * *
The uncomfortable part? As we griped about how we could hardly hear each other, I remembered all the people who have asked Cinder Bridge to turn down over the years. The coffeehouse goers who came to talk to each other and didn't care for live music enhancing the atmosphere.
In our defense, we don't go to these places intending to get in the patrons' faces. If somebody hires us to play, we assume they have a pretty good handle on what their customers like—they don't want people leaving before dessert or those last few cups of coffee. And in our defense, a lot of people at our atmosphere gigs have given positive feedback, left tips, bought CDs, or signed up for our mailing list.
That said, consider this an open apology to all those we've annoyed.