Wednesday, December 19, 2012

OK Question Answered ...

So ... I got an email about yesterday's post from someone asking that I write and tell her what the glitch was at the Elgin Theatre where we saw Snow White with the girls. Apparently she's going after Christmas and was wondering if it was something she should know. I thought about it and realised that if I'd read a blog about what happened and what the easy fix was, I'd have appreciated it. AND I get to put in more pictures.

We were advised to be there right at opening time to pick up our tickets and to make sure that everything was fine with the seating. We got there and got in and got the tickets, no problem. I asked the ticket people about the seating and they said that the ushers would assist me to my seat, but assured me that everything was in place and ready for me.

So we went up and found a bench near the doors which were not yet opened. One of the ushers, when asked, pulled out a small map of the theatre and showed me where our seats were. I didn't orient myself correctly to the map, as I was to find out, so I picked the door nearest where I thought I needed to go. I sat back and relaxed, all had gone smoothly.


When the doors opened I headed over to where I thought I should enter. The door was excruciatingly narrow. Yikes. My chair did not fit. I began to panic. This I did not anticipate. The usher, a man who had worked at the theatre for years said, before I could ask, 'All the doors are the same size.' Mike noticed that I was being held back by a small piece sticking out on the arm of may chair. He gently pushed the arm in and I made my way through the door. It's a very narrow door. My powerchair fits everywhere pretty much. My manual is much wider and wouldn't have made it through the door no matter what was pushed in.

I didn't go out and join the kids for juice at intermission. Instead I sat in and figured out how to get out. I didn't want to cause any bother so I decided to wait until everyone was gone and then get through the tiny door. After the applause died down, we waited, the kids were patient, probably because we took them down to the front and they could look down in the orchestra pit, there was even a fellow there, one of the musicians who talked to them briefly. Nice guy. Then it was up and to the door.

As I was heading over to the door Ruby yelled, 'Hey look at that door!' She was pointing to the first two doors which were WIDE really, really WIDE. I sailed through with at least 8 inches on either side of the chair. No problem at all. Awesome - except for the worry during the show and the missed intermission. Awesome because that means I can come back to the theatre, I'd put it out of my mind as I didn't like the trial of getting in. Why the usher didn't know that the doors were decidedly NOT the same size, I don't know, but he didn't.

But, now you do.

And I've learned a lesson. Check things out for myself. The usher had probably never had to look at the doors for access or for any other reason actually - but I'm the one who needed it, I should have looked, and will in the future.

But minor glitch.

Because this is what we got at the end of the day in the car on taking the kids home:


Webster said...

I think that it's awesome that Ruby is being made aware of accessibility issues at such a young age. It was SHE who noticed the wider doors for you. GO RUBY!!

I am having different (yet similar) awareness issues of my own. It is so tough when my husband just doesn't "get it." Thankfully, I think I got through to him tonight.

Anonymous said...

I just love the photo at the end. Perfect. Just what you want to see. Total contented exhaustion. What a wonderful memory you both made for the girls - and yourselves!

Oh - I also got a chuckle about the map incident. How very male of you not to ask for directions!!! ha ha ha

Anonymous said...

Dave, I'm a newcomer to your blog. May I ask how the girls are related? Nieces? I only ask because I have a special relationship with my nieces and nephews, and wondered if we had that in common. The girls look as if they had a wonderful time, from start to finish, and they sound like sweethearts.

On an accessibility topic, I recently attended a local performance of The Messiah in a venue I'd never seen. I was concerned about stairs, since even on the best of days I'm not able to do more than a few stairs without great pain. As it turned out, I should have been more concerned about seating. The stairs were fine, and there were ramps everywhere. But when we got inside I was surprised to find that a venue that had been built with accessibility in mind had installed seats that were eighteen inches across. In short, I didn't fit in the seat I had purchased. And I was not the only one. If I tried to sit, I ended up sitting on the arms, with my backside slung in between, not even touching the seat. I looked around and saw many other adults having the same issue.

Then I noticed that the folks who were not having problems were those who were sitting in the rows reserved for wheelchair users and their parties. Those who were with people in wheelchairs were provided with padded folding chairs. Not optimal, but certainly better than nothing. So I waited to make sure that nobody in a wheelchair was going to need the space, and grabbed a chair for myself and my guest. A few other larger people followed suit. We ended up having the best seats in the house!

It's not the first time that size, rather than disability, has proven to be the stumbling block for me. I just can't get over the size of the seats. Eighteen inches used to be the standard seat size, but that was years ago. I can't believe that this is the first time that seat size has ever been an issue in this venue, since I saw several others in the same situation, holding tickets and wondering if they would be able to use them. Plenty of ramps, nice big doorways, and no seating for people of size.

On the other hand, the performance was lovely, so the inconvenience was worth it. But in the future, I hope that they at least give better instructions to their volunteer ushers, who seemed flustered, embarrassed, and completely at a loss.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Ruby is so observant!

I love that photo of the sleeping girls and love the feathers in their hair. What great memories you are making.


Princeton Posse said...

Beuatiful, love the sparkly dresses and the snow boots! So Canadian. Thanks Dave.

Anonymous said...

I love the pics of the girls! Thanks for sharing your stories of successes and challenges. It's nice to connect with someone that understands.