The show started fifteen minutes ago. I'm sitting in the box office, but we are no longer open for ticket sales because, again, the show started fifteen minutes ago.
A woman walks in. She comes up to the window.
"Can I help?" I say.
"I need to get in," she says.
"Do you have a ticket?"
"No, I need to buy one.""I'm sorry, but the box office is closed for the evening."
"You won't sell me a ticket?""No, I can't. The box office is closed down.""There are empty seats in there?""Yes.""And you won't let me go in?" "Well no, the box office is closed, I cannot sell you a ticket.""Well then I'm just going to go in." She leaves the box office and starts heading toward the door into the house. I hop up and cut her off.
"M'am, you don't have a ticket, you can't go in.""You're being ridiculous. I'm ten minutes late and you won't let me in?""No, m'am, the show started fifteen minutes ago, I can't sell you a ticket and you can't go in without a ticket. We have another show tomorrow, you could come back then." "My children are in there, I'm going in. I can either give you twelve dollars or I can just walk in, those are you options."
'How the fuck did she become the one in the position of power?' I think to myself, 'This is not how it works. You show up fifteen minutes late-- that does not entitle you to a free seat! And I'll be damned if I take your twelve dollars because in your head then I'll have kept the money and I refuse to have you think I'm as much of an asshole as you are!'
"That's not really how it works--" I begin to explain."You're being ridiculous.""Okay, no, I'm not. This is how it works. It's not ridiculous, it's business. We are closed, therefore I can't sell you anything. Everyone else in there showed up on time and paid for their tickets--" "I'm going in."At this point, I wanted to push this five foot nothing woman to the ground and say "NO! GODDAMNIT! YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE HERE! You are rude and mean and I hope your children hate you! If you had asked nicely, I would have let you in right away and that would have been it, but you fucking DEMANDED it as your fucking RIGHT as a fifteen minute late ASSHOLE to get to see (most of) the show for FREE! If I could, I would slap your parents for teaching you that you are somehow special and entitled to equally special treatment when you arrive late and act rude! Not only are you not special, you are an awful human being and I hope that ill befalls you! And because you are a rude and mean lady, no one will be there for you and your funeral will be more sparsely attended than Willy Lohman's!"
In a desperate struggle to assert some power I say, "Fine, you can go in, but understand that we would not normally allow this." We both know it's a futile gesture, my pretending like I'm the one letting her go in. She walks past me the way I imagine she would drive past a pile of roadkill that she herself ran over a week prior-- she's vaguely disgusted by it, but still proud to have been the killer.
I stood there for a moment, feeling as powerless as a eunuch in a whorehouse. How the hell did that just happen? Who the hell was that woman? And was I being ridiculous? I have often in the past let people into the theatre without tickets after the box office closed WHEN THEY ASKED NICELY. Hell, it didn't even really have to be all that nicely, they just had to ask. This woman told me: "I'm going in and that's that."
Was it ridiculous of me to put up a fight? Well, sure, probably. Was I on a power trip? Yeah . . . I guess. But really: Can you blame me?* I mean, what a bitch!
*Yes, yes you can.**
**But seriously, have you ever heard of anything quite so bitchy before in your life?
I didn't think so.