Gray Dawn

This blog was originally premised on the idea that I, the blog's creator, behave and feel like the old ladies I will soon bemoan. But there remains one significant difference between us that justifies whatever hypocrisy may seem evident-- where we retire.

I do solemnly swear that I will never willingly live in the state of Arizona, Nevada, or Utah, or in the deserts of Southern California. I'm hot enough without adding menopause to desert heat.

Still, there are tendencies, behaviors- quirks, if you will, that have slowly worked their way into a part of my heart that is cold and patronizing and completely unsympathetic. Let's discuss a few:


Not only is it terrifying to walk anywhere in town, both because of the wide roads that make it apparently impossible drive properly and because of the old people driving on those roads (ten points for correctly identifying the South Park references), I can't even turn a corner in a building without seeing someone over 65.

The not-being-able-to-walk-anywhere point really grates me, because I don't have an air-conditioned Buick to drive, thank you, and I don't need any more grief walking my 1.5 miles to and from a job I don't especially love in a town I don't especially like at all. It's 105 degrees, I'm sweating like an obese man, and I've either just woken up or am ready to be home ten hours earlier. Today, I narrowly avoided being hit by two cars, in two blocks, in a town of 42,000 people, the non-residential area of which is only four blocks long.


For a 7:30 show, ushers arrive at about 6 to get suited up and meet with the House Manager. Problem is, patrons arrive about this time, too, because there's not a whole lot to do in this town between the earlybird special and the show.

We keep early patrons at bay by putting stanchions across the end of the hallway to the lobby with a "Please wait to be seated" sign. One problem with this is the tendency toward blindness many patrons have that makes it difficult to read that sign or see the blockade. The other problem is that most patrons who are coming this early have allowed plenty of time to get to their seats because they are frail and incapable of standing longer than two minutes.

I congratulate the people in this situation who have made a point to get out while they're still conscious, but please recognize that I can't just open the house because you need to sit. We have about six chairs in the lobby for just such purposes, but when 200 of you arrive at the same time, we cannot accommodate so easily. Old people in large numbers are, frankly, quite daunting. You expect to be individually welcomed and assisted to a handrail or a chair. You want to be coddled, but you outnumber us greatly. Wait in the car, come later, I don't care. Just don't barrel through the stanchions with your canes and walkers and enter en masse.

Along the same planning lines, please remember when you've purchased tickets. Our refund policy is explicitly non-existent, so if you forgot to come, it's not our fault or our responsibility to replace those tickets.


You have purchased tickets for about a third of what you might pay at a metropolitan area opera company. You are seeing a comparable quality performance with performers who often come from those metropolitan opera houses.

Three dollars is not an extravagant processing fee, particularly for a non-profit company with a box office that has no budget. For your complaining, it should be ten.

No, you don't get a discount just because you come here every year, or you've met one of the principal artists once. Unless you subscribe, which, if you've been coming for so many years and really care about that sort of thing, you should know is a great deal.

No, if you found this $5 coupon two days later, you don't get a refund.

No, if that voucher letter you won from a silent auction says your tickets are only good on certain dates, they're only good on certain dates. I don't care how much you paid for them.

No, I really do not care whether you don't think it's fair that the rear balcony is all you can afford but not very comfortable. It's $17 because it's uncomfortable, not because that's the value of the show. You're retired, anyway; do you really want to die with money in the bank?

And finally, if you die, your children cannot claim a refund for tickets for which you paid.


lilredvwagon said...

sounding pretty bummed, maybe frustrated.....
summer theater seems kinda different than the regular season, and if there were greater variety
in the demographic, some of these issues would
not be so obvious.

kfed said...

Not especially bummed, but being nice to old people for 13 hours a day, 6 days a week is really, really exhausting.

lilredvwagon said...

especially if there's no time for recharging, with
someone in your own demographic perhaps...
tomorrow is August 1.....!