On good days I have trouble sleeping well. When something troubles me, it's almost impossible. Yesterday, after experiencing a real social shock and real personal eye opener, I was up long before dawn. Joe woke up as well and we joked at by nine o'clock we'd already put in a 5 hour day. We puttered around and then it came time to leave. We'd bought tickets to go see Romeo and Juliet 'Live from the Met' which was playing at our local movie theatre. If we weren't meeting a friend there, I think we would have just stayed home. Time was making gravity 'sticky' and it seemed harder to get up, get dressed, get out, than it normally does. But we were determined to go.
We were in the theatre, which was packed much to our surprise, just before one. The lights dimmed, the music started. I had forgotten much of the detail of the play ... I remembered the end of course (given away by the fact that this was a tragedy) but the journey to the end took some twists and turns that I hadn't expected. The music was lovely, the performances wonderful and it was impossible not to be swept up into the experience. Near the beginning, the screen went black even though the music continued. Clearly there was a technical problem, the staff at the theatre worked feverishly. I know this because from my seat in my wheelchair I could see right up and into the projection booth. Feverish was the word. It was going again in less than five minutes.
As we had gone to the bathroom we missed the announcement at intermission that we would all be given tickets to another event in the theatre as apology for the technical blunder. I thought this very generous because by intermission, I'd already forgotten those few minutes of black screen.
True to their word when the 'event' was over two theatre staff stood handing out coupons. Because of the crush of the crowd, we just waited till near the end. They had brought in a table to sell snacks and it created a very narrow passageway for the wheelchair, we wanted it to be as free of others as possible. When we got there there was a very elderly woman gingerly making her way down the stairs. She indicated for us to go ahead, I got my event ticket, but the other three didn't as they were out of coupons. The woman asked us to wait just outside the theatre for her to return with more tickets. Joe, Susan and I glanced at the elderly woman and it was clear that standing for any length of time was out of the question. We suggested we all slowly walk towards the lobby and catch the woman on the way back.
We got to the spot just before the stairs, ahead of us, ramp beside us. There was no sign of the woman with our coupons. I could see panic on the elderly woman's face. She could not stand for a long time. She looked over to a small bench that was filled with two loutish teenage girls. They noticed her make a move to sit there and spread themselves out further. Nice. Who parents these children? Are they proud? But I saw a solution immediately.
The elderly woman looked back at us from the bench and I said, "Listen, they gave me a ticket, why don't you take mine. I'm waiting here with my friends, I 'll just get another ticket." At first she protested but only slightly, she saw the logic of the solution. As she came by me she patted my shoulder, gentle, and softly said, "People like you and me, we've got to watch out for each other, don't we?"
"We do," I said, quite moved my her touch and the words she spoke.
And she was gone. It was good too because it took at least ten more minutes for the coupon thing to be sorted out and for us to get ours as well.
Gentle moments are like bromo for the soul.
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