This past Friday night, Partner and I shared an evening at the theater. The cats were left to fend for themselves while The University of Memphis theater department whisked me away into the musical world of Chess (also known as the Half-a-ABBA Musical or “that one with One Night in Bangkok”).
My theater acquaintances may look down on me more than usual, but I typically have an unshakable rule about viewing live theater with a running time longer than it takes for me to sober up. Did I mention that this show runs a little over three hours. Three. Hours. That’s almost as long as a James Cameron movie but with less visual stimulation. However, I made an exception since Partner made this rare, date night suggestion.
Almost halfway through the second act, the character of Florence left her seat in the “restaurant” to “go outside” and sing a song about how well she knew her lover. At that moment, I was struck by the oddity of the situation. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t think breaking into song outside of a restaurant was odd. I thought it odd that Florence left her purse hanging from the back of the chair to go outside of a restaurant to break into song.
I, myself, do not lug around a purse, but I’m pretty sure that if a woman with a purse left a busy restaurant, she would take said purse with her. I wouldn’t leave my wallet on the table even for a quick trip to the bar. Regardless, I found it to be the perfect opportunity to share a snarky comment, so I leaned to my left and whispered into Partner’s ear, “Giiirrrlll better take her purse.”
I was rewarded with a flash of his dashing smirk; unfortunately, when I learned over, the iPhone resting on my lap slid into the dark, narrow crevasse between our seats. No big deal. I shifted to the right, crossed my right hand over and slid it in the tight area between the seat and the arm rest. I maintained focus on the performance as I searched blindly for my iPhone. When I couldn’t find it, I pushed my hand down deeper until my fingers tickled the floor. Still no phone. Did my device sprout legs and ran away?
Annoyed at having to wait until the end of the show before I could search for my phone without disturbing the other patrons, I attempted to sit up. Unfortunately, dear reader, this is when I learned that my right hand was stuck.
Sitting in a crowded, dark theater in the middle of the seventh row, I was frozen in a deep slouch, pretending like nothing was wrong. Unbeknownst to the people around me, I frantically twisted and yanked my arm all the while thinking, ‘This can’t be happening.’ After a solid five minutes, I began to panic a little. What was I supposed to do if I couldn’t get free? Was I supposed to politely interrupt the show and request someone call the fire department? Was I to wait until the auditorium cleared after the show to ask an usher for help? I haven’t been stuck in anything since I was a child, so I wasn’t current on the proper etiquette.
If you have ever seen 127 Minutes, then you can sympathize with my plight. I had become a prisoner of the theater. I leaned to Partner again and whispered, “Umm…my hand is stuck between the seats,” hoping for advice. All I got was another smirk. Did he think I was kidding? Did he not care? His ambiguous response exacerbated my agitated state of mind.
After another few minutes of pathetic struggling (I think I whimpered at one point), I was moments away from spitting a loogie down my arm. Maybe the natural lubricant would create a surface slick enough to slide my arm free. Thankfully, because of my good relationship with Jesus, my prayers were answered unexpectedly as my hand was freed from the hungry chair.
That was the longest ten minutes of my life so far. Longer than Jean Valjean’s death scene. Having access to both hands again made me enjoy the rest of the musical for some reason. I was too relieved to care that my phone was still missing. And to think I was prepared to gnaw off my own arm.