Sunday, June 09, 2013

I Decided, Now You Decide

The day before we bought tickets for "Cats" Joe and I had a discussion. Well, that's maybe not quite true. Let me start again. The day before we bought tickets for "Cats" I made an announcement, to Joe, about my decision,. He began to argue, I said, "Give up, I've made this decision and it's mine to make." Let me assure you that this doesn't happen often in our relationship. It happens in fact rarely. And I am not the only one to, occasionally make a unilateral decision.

Here's the decision I made:

We have been to the Panasonic Theatre before and while they have wheelchair seating, it's not really the best. It's right at the very, very, very back of the theatre. It's tucked off to the side and is immediately inside the door from the lobby. This seat is OK for me because I'm tall and I sit in a tall chair. When we last went there, Joe sat on a fold out chair beside me, not great.

Ruby will be going with us to see the play, she loves music and she's growing to love seeing things live. Sadie is still a little young yet but she too is showing a growing interest in the performing arts. I decided, unilaterally, that I would sit in the wheelchair spot and that Joe and Ruby would sit up front, close as they could get. After all, none of us talk while the lights go down and the show is on - there is an intermission and we can see each other and chat then - putting Ruby in the last row, far from the stage, is going to reduce her ability to both see the show and get involved in the show. The decision, for me, was simple.

Joe acquiesced and silenced his concerns, for two reasons: first, he saw my point, second, he knew my mind was made up. We chatted about it a few times and, as Joe has been there too, he felt that the decision was a good one. I know that we're going to have fun, and I'm going to work at it such that Ruby's stories about the play will be about what happened on the stage, not where we sat in the theatre.

So, and I think I may be in for challenges to my decision - what do you think about the decision for us to sit in different places in the theatre? I imagine there might be some disagreement.


Anonymous said...

Dave I think that it was the right decision. Hard, but right. We want to share experiences with the people we love, but making it the best possible experience for Ruby means having Ru by and Joe sit together yet away from you. I hope you all enjoy the show.

Kristine said...

I predict that when Ruby's older and given the opportunity, she will make the unilateral decision--on many occasions--to sit in the back with you, or with another in a similar position. Or to refuse to patronize inaccessible locations. And nobody will be able to dissuade her. I expect her to be one of those people who will spend her life making sacrifices on behalf of what's fair for all.

For now, she's a child, and we make sacrifices for children. For that matter, we make sacrifices for all kinds of people that we love. It's terrible that the theater even puts you in the position of having to make such a decision. I'm assuming you already have, or soon will, let the theater know how their design is affecting your family's experience. But, given the experience, you're doing the unselfish thing. It's exhausting to always feel pressure to "protect" others from the impact of our disabilities. But she's a child. We protect children. We protect our loved ones. It's natural, and it's ok. You have my full support. :)

Jan said...

I understand your decision, I understand why you made your decision but I am sorry that this is the only way that Joe and Ruby get great seats and you have accessible seating.

theknapper said...

I understand and respect your decision as well as I wonder if wise little Ruby values your company as much or more than the music.

Mary said...

When I have gone to a theme park with friends, we usually find that although we all paid the same entry price, and we all spend the day going round the park together, we don't all go on all of the rides, usually because of nothing more than personal preference. Different combinations of people sit different rides out. But we're all enjoying a day out together, regardless of whether we're constantly in touching distance.

I get the feeling that this is the bracket you're using for this trip to the theatre, encompassing the whole trip rather than just the bit after you enter the auditorium.

It's not ideal. Ideal would be all of you sitting together in comfortable seats. But struggling for ideal can sometimes prevent us from enjoying the moves towards ideal that have already been made. If you're content enough with their access provision to give them your hard-earned - then as you say, that's entirely your decision.

Kasie said...

When I rule the world there will be truly accessible seating, for people with disabilities, scattered throughout every venue so that no family or friends have to make the decision you had to make, Dave.
I understand your decision and would have made the same under the circumstances. You are a good man.

Susan said...

I sure wish I'd had an Uncle Dave!

(Yeah, you shouldn't HAVE to make that choice, but since you do, it is entirely your choice to make... I think it was equally giving of Joe to "get it" and to acquiesce so quickly.)

Anonymous said...

I think you made the best decision you could due to the situation that you are in. As you know there are difficult decisions that sometimes have to be made which is what you have done here. One day Ruby will realize why you made the decision that you did and she will also realize how lucky she is. Every child should have a Dave and Joe in their life!


Anonymous said...


its just the same thought that goes into the other direction. I l always very carefully have to choose my seating too. If I am to near to the speaker at an event I get arrythmia. Either my friends choose to sit with me or we sit apart. But during intermission and afterwards we always have time to chat and celebrate.


Flemisa said...

My family is going to a concert this summer with no assigned seating and I know I will be in the wheelchair area. It is more important to all be at the event and share the experience and times before and after than to sit together.
How generous and loving of you to want to make Ruby and Joe's experience the very best.
There will be many more shows I hope that you will share while sitting together!

Rosemary said...

I would have made the same decision. I have done similar in the past. It is unfortunate that particular Theatre has the wheelchair seating so far back.
I too believe that Ruby will one day choose to sit way back with you all together.

Tamara said...

I'm interested in how Ruby feels about it ... :-)

Anonymous said...

Oooh! I have seen Cats 3 times on Broadway. RUBY WILL LOVE IT!!!
Your decision to sit separately was both wise and noble, for her sake.

BUT--you will miss seeing her amazement and awe and wonder as the show unfolds, and that's a horrible, shame. The theatre needs to provide better seating for disabled patrons so they can better enjoy the experience WITH their loved ones!

Anonymous said...

Might I make a suggestion?

Get a copy of T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" and read the poems to Ruby before the show. It will familiarize her with the poetry on which the show is based, and (in my humble opinion) will only increase her joy as she watches the poems brought to life.

-Not to mention the poetry is just so wonderfully loopy and rollicking all on its own!

Seriously, I wish I had been familiar with this work before I saw Cats for the first time (nearly 25 years ago? yikes!). I was positively mesmerized, yet would have really loved to have had a better handle on the libretto.


Rickismom said...

It's a bit like trying to cross at a crosswalk when a car is racing down the street: There is "right", and there is "sensible". Sadly, the reality of the situation gives you little choice, but if you have the energy for it, a letter to the owner about what you are missing would be in order.