It definitely doesn’t pay to be frugal when it comes to participation in cultural events while living with a temperamental body. I’m just going to say it. I can be cheap. I can also easily convince myself that while my chronological age screams out 56, my mental age whispers 25. Those whispers tend to get me into trouble ever time, like when my leg cramps (without fail) each time I rent a beach cottage and assure that inner voice that a “two hour drive is nothing” and that “my ass won’t be numb and my left leg immobile when I arrive.”
I keep telling myself that stairs are no problem, even though I feel like my legs are rather unreliable, especially on the descent, or that my knees and ankles make sounds like popcorn banging away against the lid of a hot kettle. I continue to lie to myself every time I assume that sitting at awkward angles, in small chairs, with my elbows and arms tucked into my lap and my neck up around my ears will not elicit instant pain in my neck.
I also need to come clean regarding the fact that I don’t turn up the volume on my car stereo just because I really like the songs that are playing. Sometimes, especially on a sunny summer day with the windows down and the wind blowing my hair, the volume goes up just because I have this nifty little volume control tab on my steering wheel, and who doesn’t want to play ACDC or Def Leppard at full volume. But mostly the volume is elevated because I realize, that below a certain level, my music is muffled. The crispness is gone. I blame this solely on twenty years of high decibel dental drills screaming at me for eight hours per day…and also a wee bit on attendance at some rather incredibly loud concerts in my youth…okay…I also blame it on age.
Last night, a local venue brought a production of the 1986 final European tour given my Queen. This tour was the one just prior to Freddie Mercury disclosing, in 1987, that he had AIDS. This tour is also billed to be the last time the four original band members played together. While never an extreme fan of Queen, I did like many of their songs, so when I saw this unique ‘concert’ was coming to town I got tickets. I didn’t even fully realize what was truly involved, or how this evening was going to be presented.
This was not a cover band simply playing and singing songs original to Queen. The four men are musicians, amazing musicians actually, but they had no connection with each other until being cast in the respective roles of the original members of the group. What transpired last night was a theatrical production of a real concert event that occurred in 1986. The band last night looked as much as humanly possible like the original. Okay, so maybe the musician playing the role of Freddie Mercury looked a bit more like Hitler than FM, but his musical ability, and the way he carried off the costume changes and swagger associated with FM allowed for forgiveness. Yes, the costumes were authentic, the playlist taken directly from the tour, and played with outstanding musicianship. Even the audience banter between songs was taken from the original performance. Freddie certainly was no stranger to the use of the F word, and our lead actor was proficient in it’s use as well.
Our seats were good, but they involved stairs. Three separate flights of stairs covered in thick, sound absorbing carpet that made for precarious walking. Hand rails are definitely my friends. The chairs were decently padded, but spreading out in any direction is frowned upon in a public locale such as this, so when my neck started to ache I didn’t feel right about asking the gentleman next to me if he could remove his arms altogether from his body so that I didn’t have to hunch my shoulders. Nor did I find it appropriate to extend my legs through the backs of the seats in front of me, and onto the shoulders of the patrons there, when the cramps in my hips and knees began to cause me to fidget.
Ear ringing was also involved, because it was loud inside, but not unbearably so. I had no problem hearing, albeit at a decreased level, shortly after stepping outside to walk to our car.
I realized some things during this event. I must have aisle seating, and it must be on the main level if I am to enjoy productions of any sort, concerts, theater…just about any event that requires sitting for long periods. No more cheaper seats for me with the trudging up and down stairs. No more finding myself pinned into a seat with folks who surely do not want to know me ‘that well,’ if you get my drift. Perhaps, no extensively long events either, unless I make sure to stand during intermission.
The bright spot here… and yes there is still one that stands out. As long as I go pee just before the event begins I can easily make it through and home without issue. No need to attempt navigation of those stairs in the dark. No need for Depends just in case. My bladder is still holding the line and I’m happy to have that positive to hold on to.