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Theater Lovers, Avert Your Eyes!

, , , , , , , | Friendly | May 22, 2020

Some years ago, a friend and I had tickets to see The Scarlet Pimpernel on Broadway. We went with one of those bus tours and got to the theater early so we could take our seats and be comfortable.  

And then two things happened.

Incident one:

About ten minutes from the opening curtain, two gentlemen came to our aisle and began to argue with the women sitting next to us in the aisle. The women were in their seats and the men wanted them to get out. They debated the point — all of them leaning over us and getting tenser and more irritable as the debate went on — for several minutes until an usher was called over.

The usher looked at the men’s tickets and said, “You are correct. Those would be your seats… if you were coming to see The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unfortunately, your tickets are for The Lion King which is at the New Amsterdam theater.”

The men argued a few more seconds and then finally took off running. My friend and I and the ladies beside us couldn’t help but wonder out loud how you can see the name “Minskoff” and read “New Amsterdam” or read the name of the musical and mistake it for another.

We all settled back in. A loud buzz of voices started up behind us. Everyone in the theater looked back to the balconies where a large group of high school students was taking their seats. No problem. Schools bring kids to the theater all the time. They usually quiet down as soon as the play starts.

Not these kids.

The theater probably did themselves a disservice when they announced that “This performance has been selected to be taped for airing on PBS later this year. We ask the audience to please be on their best behavior.”

Almost immediately, the kids in the balcony started shouting random words and screaming at each other, and their teachers did nothing to stop them.

As the play began, it was almost impossible to hear the actors’ words or enjoy the music as the kids in the back continued to sing loudly — other songs, not the songs in the play — and shout out suggestions to the actors during quiet periods.

At one point in the performance, the characters gathered to quietly plan a coup and, even though we were sitting in the ninth row, we could not hear a word they said. Suddenly, at that point, the cast all stood up from their positions, went to the front of the stage, and said “SSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” The audience joined in and we all waited until the kids were silent before the play resumed.

I took a quick look back at the balcony: two ushers were up there speaking with the teachers. Before the act was over, the balcony had been cleared and the rest of the play took place without incident.

I am sure the kids were screaming in hopes of seeing the play on TV and hearing themselves ruining the experience for everyone else. I have to wonder what kind of pea-brained little snot thinks that’s an appropriate thing to do. More to the point, I wonder why the teachers didn’t think it was their responsibility to shut the class up.


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It Was A Humbling Time For All Of Us

, , , , , , | Right | March 2, 2020

(I’m working at a coffee shop in Manhattan. Today is September 11, 2001, and it is about 20 minutes before the first reports of a plane hitting World Trade Center 1.)

Customer: “Can you hurry up? What is taking so d*** long to make my coffees?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. Usually, we have a large staff to take big orders but today most of the staff are out.”

Customer: *irritated* “Well, how is this my fault? You should be ready to take any orders that I give you! I have a big meeting at 9:00 at the World Trade Center! That makes me important and I should be the top priority!”

(I ignore him and continue making his drinks.)

Me: “Here you go, sir, your order of [ten different coffees] ready to go. Your total is [total].”

Customer: “About f****** time!”

(He rushes out, and then ten minutes later, the news stations start talking about that first plane. The whole ordeal of 9/11 happens. Then, about a week later, the same customer comes in with presumably his wife and daughter.)

Me: “Hello, sir, what is your order today?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’m not actually ordering anything, I just wanted to thank you.”

Me: “For what, sir?”

Customer: “I’m the jerk from last week yelling about his important meeting in Tower 1. The time it took for you to make my coffee made me just late enough that I was walking up to the building when the plane hit it.”

Me: *tearing up* “Oh, my God!”

Customer: “But that’s not important. You saved me from that horrible attack and I am still here for my wife and daughter.”

Customer’s Wife: *starts sobbing on her husband’s shoulder*

Customer’s Daughter: “Can I give you a hug?”

(I happily gave her a hug through my tears. Still to this day, knowing that I was able to save one family from those terrible attacks warms my heart.)


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Just Another Day In The Big Apple

, , , , , , , | Friendly | February 11, 2020

A few years ago, I took a trip to NYC with my mom and my cousin. It was a girls’ weekend to celebrate my cousin’s upcoming wedding. We spent the morning shopping and stopped in a family-owned Italian restaurant that was recommended to us. The woman who greeted us was the chef, and her elderly mother who’d started the restaurant was behind the register. There were only five tables in the whole restaurant and we were currently the only customers. 

We’d been seated and were chatting about what we wanted to do that night when my cousin suddenly stood and pointed behind my mom and me. Black smoke had started pouring from a staircase in the hallway that lead to the businesses above that one. Thinking the floor above us must be on fire, my mom ran to the back to grab the chef, while we tried to convince the elderly Italian woman, who it turned out spoke no English, to come outside. She couldn’t see the smoke from her place behind the register and kept swatting us away and scolding us in Italian. 

Finally, my cousin physically picked the lady up. Yes, it was as awkward as it sounds, but thankfully, she was a tiny lady and my cousin was strong. We got her outside and she finally saw the smoke, which was now also streaming out of the windows of the floor above her restaurant. My mom and the chef made it outside right behind us, and the mother and daughter began speaking rapidly in Italian. 

My mom took her phone out to call the fire department, but someone else must have already done that because we heard the sirens coming our way. The fire truck rounded the corner, crushing the front end of a cab in the process. That was something else to see on its own. The passengers in the back of the cab started screaming in panic, and the driver just sat there looking bored, like this happened every day.  

Thankfully, no one was hurt. We didn’t find out what had caused the fire, but at least it didn’t spread beyond the second floor. The chef thanked us for helping them, and her mother kept hugging my cousin and kissing both of her cheeks. The rest of the weekend was uneventful compared to that afternoon, and I’ve always wanted to go back and see if that restaurant was still there.

Slidering Right Into A New Friendship

, , , , , , , | Friendly | January 6, 2020

(I’m about 12 years old. I am a victim of bullying, and all my friends have ditched me. After a particularly rough day, I am visually upset, and I decide to stop by a burger joint on my way home from school.)

Me: “How much is a slider?”

Employee #1: “$2.06.”

Me: “I only have t-two dollars.”

Employee #1: “That’s okay. Are you feeling all right? What’s the matter?”

Me: “My friends aren’t v-very nice p-people. And I’m-m being b-bullied at school.”

Employee #2: *handing me a cup*

Me: “Oh, sir, I think you m-misheard-d me.”

Employee #2: “It’s okay. The soda machine is over there.”

Me: “Thank you, thank you!”

Cook: “Do you like cheese on your burger?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

(I fill my cup with soda and return to the cashier to pick up my burger)

Employee #1: *handing me a bag* “Here’s some ketchup.”

(I look inside the bag and there are two burgers in there!)

Me: “Ma’am, there are two burgers in here.”

Employee #2: “Our treat. Things will get better, I promise.”

Cook: “Those people are not your friends. I’ll be your new friend. I’ll be new… What do people call it today? I’ll be ‘bae.’ If you ever want to talk to someone, come in and ask for [Cook].”

Me: *laughing, for the first time in a week* “Thank you guys so, so, so much.”

Employee #1: “Do you live far away? Should I walk with you?”

Me: “No, no, it’s okay. I just live a few blocks away.”

Employee #1: “Come back any time. We’re here.”

Employee #2: *picking up a broom, swinging it around in the air* “That’s what happens if people hurt you again. I’ll break them to pieces.”

(I’m laughing hard by now. The employees look really pleased.)

Me: “Thank you guys so much. I really appreciate it. I’ll be back tomorrow.”

Cook: “keep me updated!”

Employee #2: “Yeah, we want the juice!”

A Healthy Marriage

, , , , , , | Romantic | October 10, 2019

([Doctor #1] and [Doctor #2] are married. [Doctor #1] is a neurosurgeon and [Doctor #2] works in the NICU. They’ve made a cake for a coworker’s birthday.)

Doctor #2: “Can we write anything better than just, ‘Happy Birthday, [Coworker]!’ on the cake?”

Doctor #1: You have doctor handwriting and can’t write anything on the cake.”

Doctor #2: “You’re also a doctor!”

Doctor #1: *jokingly* “Excuse me. Neurosurgery is the calligraphy of medicine. These hands are the surgeon’s hands! Artist’s hands!”

Doctor #2: *laughing* “Okay, Dr. Artist, go ahead.”

([Doctor #1] grabs the frosting and accidentally leans on the tray the cake is sitting on. The tray scoots backward and he grabs it to stop it from falling off the counter, but he misjudges the weight and pulls it off the counter towards him. Instinct kicks in and he tries to catch it with his foot but ends up punting it directly into a wall.)

Doctor #2: *sitting on the ground and crying with laughter* “If you ever come into the NICU and try to touch a baby, I’ll have you shot.”