Last year I broke one of my cardinal rules and took my wife out to see a musical. Now, I have nothing against taking my wife out, and I have nothing against musicals, but the result of a typical “outing” is that I’m laid up in bed for a week afterwards in considerable pain. Since neither my wife nor I want that to happen, we seldom “make a night of it”. Very seldom. Hadn’t done it in years, in fact. So when we went out last year and truly enjoyed ourselves, I made myself a promise to do it again. And not to wait “years”.
Since that was about a year ago, I was subconsciously looking for something we could do together when I ran across an advertisement for an event at our local culture center. They were about to put on William Gillette’s Sherlock Holmes play. Since we both love plays and I’m a Holmes fan, this looked to be the perfect “next outing”. After double-checking the dates my wife’d be available (she works swing shift these days), I went online to make the reservations.
Now, first, I’d like to explain something about this play. I’ve seen virtually every performance that’s ever been done about, around, concerning, or staring Sherlock Holmes. Every performance except Gillette’s play, which is excusable, since it was first performed in 1899. And, in fact, I’ve seen a 1916 silent film made of that play, staring Gillette as Holmes, so I kind of feel like I’ve seen that play as well. But to see it live — what a thrill that would be. The only thing better would be to see it performed live with William Gillette in the title role, but I’m not going to have anyone go to all the trouble of digging him up for that.
Except I’m not going to see it at all, apparently.
The play is being held in a state of the art theater. At the time of my attempt to reserve tickets, it was still in rehearsal. What I discovered was: the theater has only two wheelchair slots in the entire building. Two slots, side by side in the first balcony. Think about that for a moment. That means that the person who designed this building thought about handicap accessibility, planned for handicap accessibility, then decided to let the public have two, count ’em, two slots. Side by side, since, obviously, anyone in a wheelchair that wants to see a play will be bringing their loved one, who, obviously, will also be in a wheelchair because, hey, let’s face it, who else would go out with a crip?
So if someone, say, like me, wants to go and wants to take my walking loved one and wants to sit next to my loved one, there is only one slot available, and that’s the “inside” slot of the wheelchair ‘section’. Any other mixed couples out there? Sorry — no room at the inn. Only one couple per evening performance. But you can bring your crippled kid, if you have one! Only, not really.
All the wheelchair slots are already sold out. Period. She can’t even take a day off work and go see it because they’re already taken. I don’t know if they’ve been taken by season ticket holders or just people who had better advance notice than I did — it doesn’t really matter, ’cause we can’t go. At least, not as a couple. I even checked to see if the “extra” wheelchair slot was available, but it’s not available either. Which is really a good thing since I don’t want to “share” this experience with a stranger, I want to share it with my wife. Or not at all.
Looks like it’ll be not at all.
[Later edit:] I managed to find out that there is one more wheelchair slot on a different balcony. It is available, and so the the companion seat beside it. Why are they still available? Because they are behind a column and you can only see a little of the stage. They warn you about it up front because they have a “no refund or exchange” policy. Isn’t that nice of them? I guess they figured anyone in a wheelchair didn’t really need to see the play. After all, crips probably can’t understand such high-falutin’ stuff anyway.