March 2010 Challenge: Standing In Line
A while ago, Gethard wrote this in my Improv Wiki entry:
For roughly three years, he was the first person in line every single week at both Harold Night and Asssscat. He was known to sprint to his favorite front row seat before New Team Harold each week, where he would stay until the final Harold was done. This dedication impressed everyone who came to know the legend of Achilles, although it is fair to say that there was also early concern over whether or not he was insane.
Most of it that is true. (My rebuttal to that entry can be found here.) But what, you ask, drove me to stand in line for hours? Was it the love of improv? Maybe. Actually, no, probably not.
I just wanted a good seat.
Specifically, MY seat, or what I selfishly referred to as “My Seat.” It was the seat directly to the left of the pole in the front row. (Or to the right of the pole if you’re on stage.)
The seat itself actually isn’t there any more. There used to be a row of folding seats on the front row, the same kind as the other seats in the theater. They were taken down a few years ago and replaced with the regular, non-folding chairs that are there now; apparently, the old front row of seats violated some sort of fire code.
When I started going to ASSSSCAT every week in 2004, I got there early enough where I always got a good seat. Pretty soon, I was always sitting in that same seat and had developed a Cal Ripken-like streak of sitting there. Eventually, it just felt plain weird to not sit in that chair. I got inexplicably possessive. I would get angry that someone else got that seat instead of me and would curse myself for not standing on line earlier.
I had competition for that front row seat. Every week at ASSSSCAT, there would be a group of Manhattan College students who would stand in line for the 9:30 PM show. (I think Scollins was one of them.) They usually had two or three people get there as early as I did to save spots for their friends; then the rest would show up hours later. Sometimes, they’d have 20 people arrive after I did. (Or at least it seemed like 20.)
I started getting there SUPER early just to make sure I got that seat and that the Manhattan College kids didn’t push me out of it. I’d be there sometimes as early as 3 PM to ensure myself I’d get that first ticket. Yes, 3 PM. And they hand out tickets at 8:15 PM. I wasn’t doing a lot back then.
What did I do for those 4 or 5 hours? Well, if I wanted to sit down (which I did), I’d grab a milk crate by the dumpster behind Gristedes. I’d often bring a stack of CDs and my CD player and just listen to music the entire time. I did not own an iPod back then. Sometimes, I’d bring a book. During freezing days, it was hard to read books, so I would just hunker down underneath a blanket that I’d brought and stay warm.
Eventually, the Manhattan College kids felt sorry enough for me that they let me skip their giant group of people if I got there after they did.
Thinking about it now, Geth was probably right: I was probably insane.
This is part of my March 2010 Challenge. More information here.
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