So, thanks to several employees of the New York City Ballet (including most importantly dancer Kristin Sloan and her Winger, along with a total of about five State Theater ushers, box office salespeople, ticket clerks, and security guards), I was able to make, and meet, a great new friend I finally met Dea, who just moved to the NY area from Sao Paulo, Brazil. We’d met on the Winger message board a few months ago and became friends through our mutual interest in ballet and writing, and my keen interest in Samba and Brazil! She only moved here a week ago, but I couldn’t wait to meet up with her! We decided, appropriately, on a NYCB matinee.
While I was in the shower, I received a message from her on my cell telling me she’d be a bit later than the 1:30 time we planned to meet (which was perfectly fine with me since I was running late!), so I took my time getting ready, headed to the State Theater, picked up the tickets I’d ordered, then waited in the lobby. Before long the lobby was jam-packed with hundreds of patrons. I couldn’t believe it — I’ve never seen it like that before — NYCB is doing some good business this season!
Anyway, I became pretty nervous since I’d only told her to meet me in the lobby without specifying exactly where; there was NO WAY in this crowd she was ever going to spot me. I didn’t really know what she looked like since I’d only seen the picture of her on her blog profile, in which she has her head thrown back and is laughing, so I couldn’t really see details like hair length, etc. There was no way I was going to be able to pick her out! So, I called her cell phone to tell her I was standing at the info booth on the left side of the lobby, but Al, her fiance answered — from home! She hadn’t yet bought her own cell phone and had used his earlier before he dropped her off to catch her train! He assured me she’d find me; she was really good at such things, and that, judging by the time he left her at the station, she should be arriving just about now.
So, I walked around the lobby looking intently for someone who looked like the blog photo. About fifteen minutes later, the first hurry-up-and-get-to-your-damn-seats bell sounded, no Dea, then the second bell, then the last. I knew she’d gotten lost! I was so worried! This was her first time in New York, in the U.S. for that matter, and she had no cell phone! I must have been walking around the lobby with a quite frantic look on my face, because two security guards (one from outside, and one from inside) simultaneously approached me.
“Just give your friend’s ticket to the window clerk and she can pick it up from him, miss,” the one told me, the other agreeing.
“Oh no, I’m not worried about missing the show, I’m worried that my friend is really lost.”
“Can you call her,” he asked.
“No, she doesn’t have a cell phone,” I said.
“No cell phone?” they both said in unison. I know, unheard of…
“No, she’s just moved here and hasn’t got one yet.”
“We’ll tell her where to go when she gets here; you don’t need to miss the show,” the one said. Overhearing our conversation, a third guard walked up handing me an envelope. “Just write her name, put the ticket inside and give it to the window clerk. They’ll give it to her when she arrives.”
“But how will she know to go to the window?” I asked.
“Oh EVERYONE knows, trust me,” the one guard said, with a smirk.
“But she’s from Brazil. What if the customs are different there?” At this the inside security guard, who had a West Indian accent, looked up to the left, contemplating.
“The customs are the same everywhere. She’ll know,” he said after a few seconds’ thought, nodding firmly, like he was completely positive of his assertion.
“And, if not, you’ll direct her there, right?” I said.
“Yeah, of course. What’s she look like?” the outside guard asked.
“Actually, I don’t know.”
“What?” they all said.
“I’m meeting her for the first time today. I just know she’s from Brazil. And she has brown hair … I think.” They all looked at each other like I was nuts.
“Look, miss, we’ll take care of it. Just write her name down and put the ticket in and you go on upstairs. Don’t worry.”
“Well, what if she doesn’t understand English that well?” This seemed to crack everyone up. “No, seriously, I mean, you’ll like walk her straight to the window and everything?” More laughs. I’m a worrisome dork. Always have been. I worry about Everything.
“It’ll be FINE, miss, we’ll take care of her.”
Ugh. They seemed sure everything would be okay. I hesitantly approached the box office window, looking over my shoulder hoping she’d run in just then. But no such luck. I explained everything all over again to the guy at the window. This one was a real jokester.
“She not from this country huh? Ooooh, this could be fun!” he said with an evil grin.
“Ha ha, just kidding!”
“She has darkish hair, I think, and she’s from Brazil.”
“Oooh, Brazil,” he said knowingly. “Oh, I’ll DEFINITELY recognize her in that case.” I assumed he was being sarcastic so I apologized for the vague description. But then he said without any irony whatsoever, “No really, I’ll see her. If she’s Brazilian, I’ll know.”
“What? No you won’t!” I laughed.
“Yeah yeah, I will. Trust me. I will.”
I really didn’t know if he was for real, but I turned around one last time and Dea still hadn’t arrived, and both security guards were looking right at me chuckling and motioning for me to go in. So, I did. I got upstairs to the Fourth Ring and explained the whole thing again to the usher while she was trying to seat me in the dark during the pause in the performance.
When the lights went on signaling the first intermission, I jumped up, grabbed my bag, darted out of theater and headed for the stairs to the lobby. If she wasn’t down there now I was definitely calling Al again. But right then, I heard someone say “Tonya?” In the HUGE crowd of people making their way from the theater to the lobby or restrooms, she actually recognized me! So, Al was right! And I was right that she’d gotten very lost on the subway — oh no! She also told me the minute she walked into the lobby everyone seemed to know who she was — probably because she had a ‘lost look’ on her face, she surmised! Ha ha — thanks New York City Ballet ushers, security guards, and ticket clerks
So we saw last two thirds of the matinee’s repetoire together (one a Balanchine, the other Robbins’ “I’m Old Fashioned” — which we both loved!), took some pictures in the lobby, then had lentil soup and these enormous cups of organic soy tea at Le Pain Quotidien, where Kristin had taken the blogger gang the week before! We ended up having a wonderful time and I’m so glad she’s moved to NY so we can talk about dance and writing and hang out and go to ballets and Winger stuff, etc. etc. etc! I just feel so bad that she got lost. But all’s well that ends well, right!