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When a co-worker and I ordered tickets to see Handel’s Messiahat Carnegie Hall, there was much contention during the seat-selection process. I was content with sitting in the $12.50 balcony seats, but the world keeps flinging little reminders that not everyone is like me.
“You’re too good for a balcony?” I reacted. “Eva Peron wasn’t. Romeo and Juliet weren’t. I’ve sat in all different sections of theaters and auditoriums, large and small, and feel privileged just to be present.”
She said the last time she sat in a balcony she was basically almost driven to jumping off of it, and promised she would never put herself in that position again.
At one point, it got so heated I said we’d have to sit our separate ways. That I’d hit the bleachers by myself while she sat amongst those who aren’t happy unless and until they’re able to confirm the exact color of the conductor’s bow tie. In the end, the holiday spirit got the best of me, and I huffily agreed to pay the $25 (plus a $6 service fee) to sit beside my buddy.
Did I mention that she’s 71 years old?

Whenever I tell my dad about a party or an event, he loves to get a head count. “Was it well-attended?” is a question I’ve come to expect. In this case, he was surprised to hear how many empty seats there were, as Carnegie Hall was apparently a place to be when he frequented New York, decades ago. The last time I saw something there, it was equally under-attended. While my mind says $12.50 (which, for those of us who aren’t 71, is less than what it costs to catch a movie five blocks uptown) isn’t bad and wishes more locals and tourists took advantage of amounts like that, my always-up-for-a-stretch legs and arms say Hallelujah!, the more empty seats there are in front of, behind, and next to me. 

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