I don’t mind doing things by myself. In fact, sometimes I prefer it that way since it allows me to sit quietly in my own space and reset. It also gives me a chance to absorb my surroundings, especially when I’m not sure where I parked my car.

I had seen the billboards for Shen Yun Performing Arts for years around Atlanta and was curious, but would then forget when the troupe was in town. This year, I decided to make the effort but it was still a last-minute decision, and the only tickets that were left for Sunday’s matinee were single spaces scattered about the theater. I’m always saying on my podcast “She Persisted” that women need to do a better job at doing things for themselves and being their own best friend, so I decided to put my money where my mouth was and grabbed a solo seat.

Regardless of how many notes I take or repeat things in my mind, it always seems I forget at least one thing on a daily basis. Whether that’s because of the many years of sleep deprivation from morning radio or being the mother of a toddler, or both, I forgot to bring cash with me for parking and discovered this fact on the way to Cobb Energy Centre. Seeing the long line into its parking deck, and not wanting to take a chance they didn’t take credit cards and getting stuck, I weaved into another turn nearby and found the nearest shopping center parking deck.

Seeing no signs prohibiting me from parking there, I emerged from a dark staircase near a street. I decided to simply stay on the sidewalk and keep walking in the direction of the theater. A good 20 minutes later — and I’m sure a mile or two — I finally made it, realizing I likely took the very long way there. I’m glad I came alone, I thought, and glad I didn’t force another to take that trek.

Shen Yun was spectacular, and the setting, costumes and movements were well worth the effort. What was not worth the walk was what some of my neighbors decided to do during this exhibition of Chinese mastery. First, we all could use a lesson in whispering. More than one person around me decided to give their impression of what they saw on stage to their neighbor as it was happening. I believe some people think that going out is like being at home and watching television and that no one around can hear what they are saying, but oh yes we can. Let’s remember to adhere to the same advice ads give for not texting and driving — it can wait.

Another violation is Cobb Energy’s decision to sell chips. In a bag. Yes, there were those who again assumed they were in the privacy of their own home and not only grabbed for the chips with quite a lot of noisy effort, but proceeded to eat said chips with as much force. I wanted to personally apologize to the dancers.

Despite a quick thought to find a shortcut, I went the long, yet tried and true, way back to my car after the performance. I still couldn’t tell you exactly where I parked or what roads I took to get to and from the theater, but there will be a crisp $20 in my pocket for parking next time I go. I just need to remember where I put that cash.

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