Out of the fullness of our days our dreams speak.
We spend a lot of time on our jobs. And a lot of thought is invested in how we go about what we do. It is true for any job. It is true for that of the usher.
Sure, our main responsibility was to seat people. On a rare occasion we had the privilege of helping a celebrity, like, once in Brockton, Al Hirt, the jazz trumpet player came in. He was in the middle of an engagement at the local fair. We seated him and made sure that no one bothered him.
On a regular schedule we would make the rounds and check the temperature in each auditorium, making sure that it was set in a comfortable range. We also had police type duties. We made sure no one was smoking inside. Obviously it was easy to tell it was going on either because of the smell or the smoke itself. But sometimes it would not be clear as to who was doing it, especially if there were a number of people in the suspect area, for the perps knew this and would be on the lookout for those trying to stop them.
We also looked to the care of the seats, asking those who had their feet up on the back of the seat in front of them to please remove them. Often they were the same ones that were smoking, (and hopefully not that other bane of theater seats, the slasher). And then there were the seat hoppers, but I’ll save that for another day and post.
Lastly there was that great danger to the order of society, those that would buy a ticket and when once in the auditorium and the coast clear would make a beeline to the exit door and open it to their non-paying friends. It was best to catch them in the act and eject them all from the exit door by which they entered. All of them. Even the one who had paid, despite his demands for a refund. He had forfeited that right. So it is little wonder that in the wake of those times of guarding the exit doors, dreams ensued.
Or as in this one case, a nightmare. There is something about the image of standing across from an open exit door, with a crowd spilling in and mingling with the paying audience. Dread and horror. And it came with an overwhelming sense of helplessness in the face of anarchy and chaos. They appeared to my dreaming mind like respondents to a freaky casting call – the Village People, if you will, a full ten years before they existed. All I could think to do was to rush forward, shouting at the top of my lungs that they show their ticket stubs, and that anyone without one was going to be thrown out.
Where was Bruce Willis when you needed him?
(I know, he was probably only 12 at the time and living in New Jersey).