It was a few years after 9/11 when I attended a Nurse Practitioner Conference in Washington, DC. The kids had never been there. It was an excellent opportunity to take them on a family trip to see the history of our country first hand.
Liska and the kids were busy during the day while I attended the conference. In the afternoons we took in the sights of Washington, DC. We had seen most of what we had set as a goal to see, when my attention was beginning to shift to New York City, NY. I had found it intriguing my two previous visits, and decided to take the kids north to NYC.
We rented a car, the train was too expensive. We stopped in Philly and saw the Liberty Bell, along with narrow streets and the historic neighborhoods. I survived the challenge of Manhattan traffic and was soon cutting taxis off and exchanging hand gestures along the way. When I pulled into the Hyatt Hotel, I tossed the keys to the valet. I did not want to see the car again until we left town in a few days.
Once we were checked in we headed out, walking up to Time Square. While we were walking Wylie asked, “Why does it smell like urine?” Twenty feet more he had his answer. A disheveled man standing on the curb was peeing into the street. We both agreed that we were not in Boise anymore.
Time Square was as expected, nothing more needs to be said. The kids were at the age when they begin to establish their independence from mom and dad. This night in NYC however the drive for independence was temporarily on hold and they stayed close by our side.
The next day we visited Ground Zero. The kids and I had watched the events of that dreadful day unfold while eating breakfast in Boise, ID and from the safety of our home. The enormity of the destruction along with the mementos left by families who had lost loved ones that day made it a moving experience.
We had one more night in NYC. I wanted to go see a play on Broadway. I have enjoyed the ones I have seen in the past. It seemed like a good choice, so off we went to find tickets.
There is a small outlet in Time Square that sells left over tickets. The lines form early. An electronic sign above the outlet list the tickets and the number still available. So as you slowly work your way to the front you have to be flexible on what you are willing to see. By the time you get to the front your first and second choice may be long gone.
I make friends quickly and struck up a conversation with a couple of guys in line. It is not long before my gay buddies in line are sharing their vast knowledge of all of the plays still available. What a lucky break to be standing next to these guys. They were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. I appreciated their camaraderie, sense of humor and advice.
Lion King was fading away, you could feel it. It was palpable. If your senses were dulled all you had to do was check the sign, Lion King was gone. Forty Second Street was option B. It looked like a solid choice at the back of the line, but now towards the front it was not looking good. I was beginning to take all of this adversity as a challenge. I was going to get tickets and take the kids to see a Broadway play. That was all there was to it.
There are hawkers working the line promoting the play at their theater. Before long I have a playbill in my hands with ballplayers on it. I like baseball. This might be my fall back play. Before I made that decision I ran it by my two line buddies. They gave the play, Take Me Out an enthusiastic double thumbs up. They went on and on how good it was. I am thinking plan C should have been plan A the entire time. I was getting close. My proximity in line and the number of tickets remaining, the tide was beginning to shift in my favor. My buddies were jazzed. I am jazzed. We were enjoying the moment no doubt about it.
I purchased 4 tickets to Take Me Out. The next step was to go out and have a nice dinner ahead of the play. There are a lot of good restaurants in NYC, so that was easily accomplished. We found one just around the corner from the theater.
There was a large group slowing entering the theater passing the ticket taker on the way in. As I handed him our tickets he asked me to step aside and wait for the manager. Perhaps it was our conservative Idaho appearance, but for whatever reason an audience with the theater manager was forthcoming.
Before long an attractive forty something female came out and greeted me. She spoke in a hushed tone, “There is something you need to know. I can give you a refund if you choose or you can come in it is your choice”. What was the problem I asked? “This play contains male nudity.” Are they doing anything to each other? That was all I could think of to ask. Sodomy was a deal breaker for me personally. “No, No nothing like that. There are two shower scenes where the cast is in the shower that is all”.
I was on a mission you might recall. I had paid for the tickets. I had two kids ages 12 and 9 with me. I was processing it all. Then Liska and I had a quick parental consult before the conservative folks from Idaho entered to see the play.
I am not going to rob you and tell you too much about Take Me Out. It was an excellent play and won play of the year honors for that year. The cast were all male, members of what looked like the New York Yankees. The cast covered the spectrum of stereotypical athletes. There was the white redneck homophobe from the south, Latin American player, a black player, and an Asian player. The lead person in conflict looked like Derek Jeter, a mulatto with an issue unaddressed. Society was well represented in the cast.
Scene 2, just as predicted there were six guys discussing the complexities of life in the shower. I was wondering how they pulled that off, and where the water was going. That is how my mind works, first to the plumbing. Feel free to have a laugh at my expense, I am ok with it. These guys were all in good shape, nothing was left to the imagination either.
So on the way back to our hotel, walking up the street. I was in a reflective mood. I had just taken my kids to a Broadway play with male nudity. When someone in our family pulls a bonehead, a lot of fun is going to be had at their expense. It was my turn. I have a vast library of bonehead acts, so I knew what was coming. It is best to remain silent and just let the humor and sarcasm flow over you like a wave.
I was doing that when I was beginning to sense I might be able to gasp some air and offer a defense as feeble as it was. You know something that was a really good play. I should have stopped, but I got greedy. The other lesson that the play taught us, is when our clothes are off, we are all pretty much the same. Nothing but silence as my family took in my comment.
A timely pause, I was beginning to feel triumphant when Austyn my 9 year old daughter offered up her assessment. “You know dad, that is sort of true, but the black guy was different than the rest of the guys.”