I called the theatre, listened to a very long message, the last thing stated was that if I wanted to buy wheelchair accessible seating, I was to leave a message and they would call me back. I left my number, outlined that I was frustrated at the process, and rang off. An hour or so later they called back. The woman asked me the source of my frustration. I told her that I'd gone to the production company website, followed the links to calling a number, after much fussing about I'm told that it's not that number it's another number.
She then set about giving me a lecture, talking to me again in emphasised simplicity, about how if I want to buy a ticket I need to call the theatre box office, that this informaton is on the theatre's website. I told her that that information was not on the production company's website and they are the first up on Google AND they offer to sell tickets. They don't mention accessibility. She said that I should have known to call the theatre. Her implication was that my frustration wasn't because of the flawed system but because of my own stupidity.
I had her check the day we had chosen and she came back and said that all the wheelchair seating was sold on that day. I asked if we could check on other days. She said, 'No.' She told me they were very busy. So she gave me homework. I was to go and find all the days that we were able to attend and then call back. I did this but she didn't answer, so I left a message, with the dates and the number of seats - and of those dates I left the two we'd prefer, too, I left the times that I'd be available to talk with her the next day.
She called during the time I had said I wasn't available to tell me, with exasperation, that she'd call me during the time I said I would be available. She called exactly as we were about to get on the elevator to go up to the apartment. I asked, politely, if she would call back in fifteen minutes. She checked with her supervisor who gave her the OK.
During the call we chose the time and even though I corrected her a couple of times she always listed the purchase as 'one wheel and four family seats.' I hate being called the 'chair' or in this case, a first, a 'wheel' ... but I wanted the tickets. I wanted to take the girls. I know they'll love it. I know it will be fun.
The process involved in buying the tickets was outrageously difficult, it took:
over 24 hours
one staff who couldn't get that people with disabilities have families not just companions
one staff who felt a need to give a lecture to a 60 year old man about buying tickets
1 incident of shifting blame to me
5 incidents of being called 'a wheel'
3 incidents of being called 'a wheelchair'
1,000,000,000 parcels of patience and restraint
I only went through all of this, not giving up, because I want to do this with Ruby and Sadie and the family. I do. I want the memory of us being together at the theatre to be a big one. I want the kids to experience live theatre. I want the kids to have a breadth of experience.
But I tell you this,when I go to see a play, or the ballet, or the symphony or the opera and see the empty accessible seats, I know why they are empty, you've got to really, really, really want to go in order just to buy a freaking ticket. After the problems we've had at the symphony and the ballet we think long and hard before even deciding to try and get a ticket. Our first question should be 'can we afford it' but now it's 'have we the energy to put into buying a ticket.' There's something deeply wrong with that!
Please remember to vote for Rolling Around in My Head at the Canadian Blog Awards website in the categories of 'Best Personal Blog' and 'Best Health Blog'. Whatever He Says, Belinda's blog, is also up for best Religion and Philosphy blog if you've a mind to. I really appreciate your time and support.