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Speak Up and Speak Out!

by Sue

I'd like to share a story about good caretaking. Over the course of several years, I have become a passionate ballet fan, and I attend many performances at one particular theater in Lincoln Center, the New York State Theater. I routinely spend a considerable amount of money on tickets and had just unwittingly subscribed to four performances which turned out to be in very tight seats.

I had always attributed the tightness of theater seats to my expanding or shrinking butt, but when I looked carefully I realized that it was the seats which differed in size, not me. I decided I was no longer going to be uncomfortable if I could help it.

So, one night I got to the theater extra early and whipped out a tape measure. After I gave the usher my ticket and was shown to my seat, I proceeded down the row measuring the widths between armrests and recording them on a small chart of seat numbers I had prepared ahead of time. When I noticed two ushers (very thin) staring at me, I explained what I was doing. To their credit, they complimented me on my initiative, told me that they had no idea that the seats were not all the same, and wished me luck.

It took three visits to complete my chart, to the surprise and amusement of all the ushers in the section, but the results were worth it: seat widths ranging from 17 1/2 inches to 21 inches. The fallout from this experiment has significantly improved my theater going life. I'm no longer shy about seeking wide seats, even though box office personnel invariably don't know that seat sizes differ. Especially in movie theaters, I always arrive early and eyeball the seat backs from behind. The size variance is often easy to see.

The happy postscript is that my current ballet subscription, which I will renew forever, is for the two widest seats in the house.

Thanks for helping me develop the nerve to take care of myself in this very public way!

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