Box office PTSD

I managed (just barely) to scrape up enough CASH to pay a five dollar parking fee and $20 ticket without panicking (too much). I eventually managed to figure which building the blasted theatre was in without panicking (too much). Note to UMich: When you build a fancy theatre arts center with a state of the art black box theatre — named after a famous playwright — you might want to think about putting up a SIGN that can be seen from the street!

It was when I was waiting in line for the box office that I sorta freaked out. It wasn’t that it was a long line. Actually, when I got in there, *I* was the only one in line and the box office wasn’t open quite yet. I leaned against a post and worked the NYT xword on my iPhone. Oh shoot, just as the guy opened the box office, a group cut in front of me. It was okay. But. They had questions… One of the patrons was in a wheelchair so lots of stuff about wheelchair seating and stuff. Now, I am NOT harping on people in wheelchairs. That would be pretty ridiculous since The Commander now uses a walker and although she is really quite mobile, I am now learning first-hand about coping with access issues. Taking someone like The Commander to a play and figuring out the best place for her to sit is probably in my future and it would be best if I took a note.

But, y’know. I spent six years of my life running box offices for the A-squared Young Actors Guild and I flashed back to the days *I* was behind the box office. I remember the wheelchair questions. And then there was the constant confusion about ticket prices, no matter what I did to try to make that clear. And the people who nervously called in ticket reservations even though we *never* sold anywhere near the whole house. I use to wish we had that problem!!! And the people who presented their debit card, not realizing that we only took cash or check. (I knew enough to check that out ahead of time for this play but totally forgot about UMich event parking highway robbery.) And the genuine weird-ohs. Like the guy who would always ask if the play was a musical. Uh, the AAYAG does not *do* musicals. And the belligerent dad who LOUDLY asked why he couldn’t get a free ticket because his son was in the show. We had some kind of family pass deal that I can’t remember but I think people had to buy at least ONE ticket. I mean, we had to be solvent, fer kee-reist!

I may not have always paid for a ticket to see my kids act but that’s because I was running the box office and updating the website and running around backstage like a crazy woman and actually, I *rarely* sat in the audience in those days. I would sneak in to watch my kids when they were on stage and then I would sneak out again. Head backstage to hang out with Madame Producer. Backstage was always where the real play was anyway.

Nowadays, Mouse acts with various companies and I am always an audience member. I will pay whatever the ticket price is without argument and even donate money to those groups. Today, when they opened the house, I found myself a seat and, wouldn’t you know, Caspar Milquetoast and Meek Girl sat themselves down behind me. I was treated to Meek Girl telling a story in a teensy tinesy little voice about having a MOUSE (can you imagine!) in her apartment and her efforts to get some apartment superhero to eradicate it for her. Punctuated with frightened-sounding little giggles. Now, I know all about this because here at the Landfill the mice scurry in, the mice scurry out, the mice play pinochle on my snout. And I DO make “other people” eradicate them. Because I do NOT like to kill them, although I HAVE done it. The apartment superhero left her with some of that sticky tape that some people use to trap mice. I thought, “good luck with that, girl.” I guess it could’ve been worse. I once attended a musical over at Pi-Hi and the place was packed and, at intermission, the ding-dong behind me asked her friend, “Do you have any deodorant?” and a few minutes later said, “I’m putting on deodorant in a theatre, la la la…”. The GG, who had NOT heard any of this stuff, later remarked, “Smells like a locker room in here.” Indeed.

I am sorry. All of these people are good people and I have no right to snark at them. On another day, I would’ve giggled to myself at the Ann Arborness of all this stuff. The proverbial over-educated folks who can’t tie their own shoelaces. I might’ve even mustered up enough gregariousness and savoir faire to turn around and commiserate with Meek Girl about mus musculus. I would’ve said, “Don’t do that tape!!!” Today, after weeks (how many?) of schlepping up and down the I75 SUV Speedway and living out of an ancient LLBean duffle bag, I desperately needed to decompress and all I could think of was that, if great big bugs ever try to take over the earth and I have to fight them, Caspar and Meek will not be on my bus.

The play started. It was Arsenic and Old Lace. Mouse played Elaine. And made her own costumes, which were gorgeous. I relaxed and started to decompress. At the intermission, a Courtois contingent joined me! The Beautiful Becky and her daughter, The Beautiful Lacey. And The Beautiful Grandmother Trucker. Who isn’t trucking anymore but I still like that handle. I needed them and I was glad they were there. That is all I will say.

We said our goodbyes. The Courtois contingent was up for going out to eat. Part of me wanted to go with them but ultimately I slunk off to the Landfill. I will be working (in my loverly, dog-poopy cube) all week and I needed to get to the grokkery store and supply myself with just enough food for the duration. Stuff that I can chop up myself in my own chitchen and scrabble together for lunches, etc. I rarely eat prepared food at home.

And so, I am babbling and blathering away again. If you’ve read this far, thanks for putting up with me.

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman

2 Responses to “Box office PTSD”

  1. Margaret Says:

    The behind the scenes is always more interesting I find. I’m glad that you are back home and having a normal(ish) week. 🙂

  2. grandmothertrucker Says:

    We had a wonderful time. Mouse was perfect and her dresses fit her so well! I know what you mean about people wanting to get in for free. Whenever Flec Mindscape performs, ( my son ), he gets about 40 text messages, just before the show starts, while he is backstage getting ready, from people asking, “hey man, can you get me in for free?” Some are friends, some are photographers, and some are people he doesn’t even know! BUY A TICKET LIKE EVERYONE ELSE AND SUPPORT THE ARTS!