Saturday, May 26, 2012

I did it! Sort of.

Now, see, the problem with casting Adam Cooper as the lead in Singin' in the Rain is that you really just want to watch him dance, and there is only one solo dance for Don Lockwood in the whole damn show.  The upside is it's pretty damn magical.

I'm getting ahead of myself.  Way ahead.

::::dream sequence flashback to yesterday::::

Knowing that I had about 4 hours on a train today, and that I'd finished my last book last night at dinner, I spent a reasonable amount of time trying to get another book downloaded to my kiindle app with wifi that was being kind of dodgy for me.  Answer:  wouldn't work.  But I didn't really have to catch a train until somewhere between 11 and noon, so I could conceivably get out to a bookstore this morning (it opened at 10) and buy a dead tree book.

Except I didn't.  I got a late start this morning, and didn't get to the train station until about 11:20.  I would happily omit the part where I went to the wrong damn train station, but since it was something of a sign as of how the day would go, I probably should mention it.  I realized my mistake when I didn't see any trains to my destination on the destination board, cursed heartily, and went to the right place.  At this point, the only train I could take was the 11:55 -- it would get me to Sheffield at 2:00, and the show started at 2:30 -- with the theatre all of a ten minute walk from the train station, that would give me plenty of time -- but I would have preferred an earlier train.

Even making the 11:55 was a challenge.  Once I'd found the right train station (and the right ticket machines), the ticket machines decided not to take my credit card.  Or my other credit card.  This annoyed the crap out of me, but I had just enough cash to get the ticket.  Tried to reload my wallet by stopping at an ATM on the way to the platform, but one of the two ATMs was out of service, so the queue in front of the remaining one was way too long.  I counted the coins in my pockets (about 12 pounds) and got on the train.  (About 15 transit cops were standing around the platform -- apparently, the arriving train was carrying many loud football fans and nobody wanted any trouble.)

I hadn't eaten.  Anything.  The food trolley came by on the train.  They didn't have any decent sandwiches, so I bought a cup of tea and a bag of crisps (chips, to you).  

The train.  Arrived late.  By about 20 minutes.  They started apologizing when they were only 8 minutes late, and it just kept getting worse.  As the train pulled into the station, I realized my only hope of making the show was getting a taxi.  

On the plus side, there were plenty taxis waiting in line, and I was only third in line.  The minus side was that the person who was second in line had to load a ton of luggage in the cab, and we couldn't go around.

I didn't make it.  I was close.  I actually got my ticket at the counter before the play started, but they'd already closed the doors and wouldn't let me in until the first suitable break in the performance.  They had a TV set up out there, on which I was watching the first scene.  One usher was very apologetic -- both about how crappy the sound was on the television, and about how they would be unable to let me go to my nice seat damn near dead center, as I could only be seated way up on one of the sides (ten minutes in).  Wish I could say nice things about the other ushers, but they were talking loudly with the bartender -- had they been quieter, I could've actually heard the first scene on the television).  I did get in eventually (and, in the next blackout, moved to a marginally better seat from where they'd parked me).  Took me a while to stop cursing the train and settle in to enjoy the play, but I ultimately did, and was really glad I got to see it.

On the plus side, as I was seated so near the door, I was one of the first ones out when the show was over, and pretty much booked my way back to the train station.  The play ended at 4:00, and I needed to make the 4:27 train back to London.  For a minute there, I considered stopping to use the restroom at the theatre, but didn't want to risk it -- I could go at the train station.  Got to the train station in time.  (During which time, I actually thought about that crazy lady who wore adult diapers to make a long drive without having to stop to pee.)  Used the lovely (pay) toilets at the station, spent what was pretty much the very last of my money to buy a sandwich and apple slices for the ride home, and (hooray!) got more cash out of the ATM -- all before settling in my seat for the ride back to London.

I'm gonna be honest with you:  I owned up to going to the wrong train station.  And, in fact, if I hadn't overslept this morning, I would have taken an earlier train and not ended up missing out on my good seat at the show.  My fault.  See:  I own my mistakes.

On the train ride back to London, the train stopped about about 4 stations, although there were many other stations we passed.  This was what you might call an express train.  At the fourth station (where we were about 3 minutes late), they said, quite clearly over the loudspeaker, that this was the express to London, and NOT the one that made stops on the way.  If you needed the one that made stops on the way, wait all of 3 minutes for the next train.  (Not to mention there were all sorts of signs about this on the platform.)  I'm saying all of this because a bunch of people who got on at that fourth station got on the wrong train.  The conductor explained this at great length to the woman who sat down in front of me -- sorry, luv, you got on the wrong train -- you'll have to go all the way to London and take the next train back; terribly sorry, but we did explain it quite clearly; no, you won't be charged.

Ten minutes later, we learn that we're going to make an unscheduled stop at this lady's destination.  Apparently, so many people screwed this up that the conductor called her boss and got permission to make an unscheduled stop.  I asked the nice conductor if this would delay us for London.  She said by about 3 minutes.  (I didn't have the heart to ask if this would be on top of the 3 minutes we were already late.)  Most people on the train thought it was very, very nice of the train to bend its rules and make the unscheduled stop for the idiots.  Knowing that another 3 minutes would have made the difference between me getting in to my seat at the matinee and me standing there in the lobby watching the first scene on a TV, I wasn't all that sympathetic.

By the time we got to London, we were actually a bit closer to 12 minutes late.  Which meant I had a good 48 minutes to get to the theatre for Singin' in the Rain.

I am responsible for the next delay -- again, I will own this one.  There was a shop in the train station where I stopped to buy some gifts for folks back home.  (I'm leaving on Monday, and wasn't quite sure I'd have time to get back to the shop tomorrow.)  So, I mean, I stopped.  I realized this might mean I wouldn't have time for a restroom break before the show, but it was a trade-off I was willing to go for.

Before I got on the underground to get to the theatre (really really hoping that the theatre was where I thought it was), I realized I needed to put more cash on my Oyster card (underground tickety thing).  Tried to do so with my credit card, which was again rejected by the machine.  As was my second credit card.  And my third.  At this point, I decided it wasn't me.  Luckily, I had cash now.

Got to the theatre (yes, it was where I thought it was!) about ten minutes before the show.  There was a huge line at the theatre, though, because this show (unlike all of the others I've attended) was checking through everyone's stuff at the door.  We hear the "five minutes" bell when there are still about 80 of us standing outside the theatre in line, thinking, "really?"

I get in and get to my seat -- it's actually kind of funny -- from the lobby, I had to walk down a flight of stairs, through about three sets of doors, up some more stairs, and then I'm in the stalls (orchestra, to you).  Somewhere through the second set of doors, I saw the sign for the ladies' room, and decided to remember this for the intermission.  When trying to find this again, at intermission, it didn't entirely work.  When I exited through the nearest door, I was back in the lobby.  Retraced my steps and found my seat again, also the bar... not the can.  Followed another woman who looked as lost as I did, and was actually one of the first people in line because nobody else could find the bathroom either.  

(We skip past the point where I used the last of the toilet paper in my stall, so had to apologize to the next person in line.)

It ultimately was a very, very long line of women waiting for the restroom.  (Someone in line pointed out that this was probably because of all of the rain we'd just seen onstage.)  On the plus side, I took care of business so early, I was able to partake of the glorious British tradition of ice cream at the interval.

Totals for the day:
- 2 plays, 160 miles apart
- 3 (unexpected) presents for friends
- 2 delayed trains
- one cup tea, one bag crisps, one sandwich, one baggie apple slices, one ice cream
- five credit card denials
- 3 blisters on my feet
... and Adam Cooper dancing in the rain.

Totally worth it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a perfect day!