Old Coot Doesn’t fit in!

This is an old gripe. I first wrote about it 12 years ago and nothing’s changed. Just the opposite; it’s gotten worse. NOT ENOUGH SPACE! The space afforded us in most venues is inadequate and getting smaller. My latest adventure, as a giant in a miniature world, was at a Frankie Avalon concert in Daytona Beach. 

I get to these theatre things early so I can claim the armrest. The first one there gets it. The last one has to sit with his hands in his lap. That’s the rule! I often wonder, just who is it that designs the seating pattern for these places. It must be a group of skinny and height-challenged people. They size the seats to fit their derriere. The width of the row is undersized as well, so narrow that everyone has to stand up and do a “Twister” maneuver to let the latecomers pass by to their seats. (Why are late people’s seats always in the middle of the row?) Armrests are so skimpy they barely support a single arm, yet two people are supposed to share them. Irish blood flows in my veins and cursed me with toothpick arms, but even they are too big for armrests in modern theaters. I feel like a gorilla when I plop them down. The bigger question is, “Why aren’t there two armrests on each seat?   

We lucked out at the Frankie Avalon concert; we beat the crowd to our row. Sure, I had to knock over an old guy with a cane and a “blue hair” in a walker, but we beat them down the aisle. I scrunched down in my seat and took possession of the armrest. It was mine! I wasn’t moving! Or, so I thought. I hadn’t planned on a leg cramp. When I’m stuck in a seat made for a 10-year-old with my knees higher than my hips and jammed into the back of the seat in front of me, my legs complain with a cramp. It’s mostly physical, but I swear it’s also psychological. My subconscious plays games, to make me look foolish. It says (with a chuckle), “I’ll let the old guy get comfortable and then throw a cramp into his leg; it will force him to leap to his feet and try to kick it out. Ha! Ha!” 

My subconscious loves to mess with me. It got me good when I underwent an MRI for the first time. It conjured up an image of being buried alive. It went at me again when I was trapped in an elevator on a cruise ship during a storm. It created a burial at sea image that time. It’s no fun being an old coot with a subconscious that’s a practical jokester. You can easily spot me when it’s on the job, like in a theater. I’m the guy in the middle of the row with beads of sweat on my forehead, a pained expression on my face, sitting next to an exasperated woman who asks, through gritted teeth, “What on earth are you up to now?” (Nothing, just trying to endure a bear trap clamped around my leg.)

We’ve got a crisis on our hands with this lack of space thing. Our bodies are getting bigger; the seats are getting smaller. MacDonald’s is blamed for the obesity wave that’s sweeping across America, yet the miniature thinking designers are making things smaller and smaller. Each new project has less elbowroom. Maybe architects are awarded jobs by how many people they promise to squeeze into a given space. “I can get 1000 seats into that theater!” – “I can get 1500!” The contract goes to the highest bidder. Their minimal space designs are everywhere and not just seating areas. They’ve done a number on parking lots. Our cars are bigger; the spaces are smaller. Body shops love it. I don’t dare bring up the space on airplanes. My head would explode. I think we need a new law. Only people who are 6 feet 5, weigh 300 pounds and drive Hummers can become architects. Maybe then we can fit in.
Comments. Complaints. Send to – mlessler7@gmail.com.

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