I knew the title of this post before I ever attempted to see Hamilton again. It is a phrase that resonates so much with me as to warrant contemplation of it being imprinted on my flesh. Paciencia y fe: patience and faith.
This go around I get to tell a story of triumph instead of a tale filled with tears.
Both my patience and faith were tested this week. I hopped a 1:50am bus Tuesday morning, arrived in NYC at 5:50am, and immediately got into the cancellation line outside of the Richard Rodgers Theatre.
However, unlike my previous experience, there were many more people waiting at this early hour. Colleges had just let out. Two different groups of friends had decided to show up on Monday, a non-show day, to sit and wait for the show on Tuesday night. By the time I made it to the line, I was in position number 18 for a ticket.
Only seven tickets were released for the Tuesday show. Also one magical person who had won the lottery gave their extra ticket to a cancellation line member. Still, I was too far behind to have any real shot of a seat that evening.
A group of my friends had suceeded in seeing the show this past Saturday. To do so, they had slept overnight in front of the theatre. Originally my thought was to do the same. As Tuesday’s show started, and we were informed there were no more spots left, I told the remaining people I was going to check into my hostel, take a shower and a nap, and return after the show was done to join them. That never happened.
I hadn’t slept in 36hrs. My bus ride was too rocky for any sleep. It rained most of the day on Tuesday, so no chance for an in line nap. I needed a break.
As we waited, the show about to start, hoping for standing room spots, I swayed on my feet. I felt nauseous. I didn’t know how long I would last without rest.
When I got to my hostel, I learned my room was on the fourth floor and the elevator was out. When I got into my room, I learned an asshole had taken my bed (the bottom bunk) and only one top bunk was left. I was mad, but I was more tired than I’d been in years. I unpacked, took a shower, and climbed into the bed.
I was done. As soon as my body felt the semi-comfortable mattress, it wouldn’t let me lift my head off of it. When I tried to sit up around 10:30pm, I felt like I would vomit. I compromised and set an alarm for 5am.
On Wednesday morning, I got back in line at 5:30am. If I had torn myself from my comforts and slept on the New York City sidewalk, I would have been 8th in line. Instead I was now 15th.
This ended up being a happy turn of fortune. Not only was I exhausted Tuesday night, I was also devastated. The path to attaining a ticket for the show seemed so hard as to almost be not worth it. I’d made a deal with myself that night while lying in bed that if I were any farther back than position 15, I would give up on this trip and try again another day.
Since I was 15th, I waited. And I made friends. They are the only reason why this story has a happy ending. For over twelve hours we chatted, laughed, and made fun of the ridiculous situation we were in. We created Cancellation Line Bingo. We whispered ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ for each passing man in uniform, and there were many. (Thank you Fleet Week for helping to make my Hamilton dream come true.)
By the end of this second waiting game day, I had hope again. So when I was next to last for the Wednesday evening show when again tickets and standing room spots were filled, I already knew where I would be sleeping that night.
I woke up Thursday morning achey but excited. I was so close. Just a little bit farther to go.
With my friends still with me, we again waited, now on my third day of outdoor tedium. At 3:30pm, when the theatre rep came out and said he had four premium tickets for Thursday evening, I felt like my heart would burst. All of us would see the show.
We had a meal together, changed together, and experienced Hamilton together. I saw my musical, and made two new friends to boot.
Patience and faith.
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