Wendy recalled paying only a nickel for an ice cream cone, a quarter for a sundae and a buck for dinner. I played the “fuel” card – a gallon of gas went for about 15 cents or so and you could easily fill the tank of the family sedan for under $3.
All this nostalgic revelry sent us spinning off in a different direction, however, when we started detailing the high cost of products today. There are all those high-tech gadgets – smart phones, laptops and flat-screen TVs – that can cost a fortune. Worse, a wardrobe of designer jeans, shirts and suits cost more than my first year of college tuition back in the mid-60s. And, heaven forbid, if you’re of the female persuasion, the tab for haute couture probably matches the GNP of some smallish, third-world countries.
But for sheer madness, and the point of this posting, is the handful of cash I handed over for something during my most recent trip to the Big Apple. I’ll explain.
The missus and I spent our first day in Gotham around Times Square, enjoying the sights and trying to stay warm. We managed to grab a couple of the last seats available for Mama Mia! and hunkered down with a thousand or so other tourists for the fun and funky show. Tickets weren’t cheap, but the price tag was pretty much what I expected for a Broadway show.
During intermission, I realized I was thirsty. In fact, I was feeling a bit dehydrated and decided I needed something to drink. Now I understand that it’s a given that there are certain places on this planet where it’s not a good idea to purchase drinks or snacks – airport terminals, tourist hot spots, any sort of professional ballpark, neighborhood multiplexes and Broadway theaters.
Did I mention I was dehydrated? Why, yes, I think I did. So it was that I muscled my way to the back of the Winter Garden Theatre and spotted a guy pushing a cart filled with bottled water – something, btw, I never buy. I asked him for a bottle and this is how our conversation played out.
Him: “Hope you’re enjoying the show … that’ll be $5.”
Me: “Pardon me?”
Me: “Jesus Christ!”
Me: “Jesus Christ!”
Him: “Yeh, I know what you mean.”
Did I mention I was dehydrated? Anyway, that’s how I ended up making one of the most absurd purchases in my life. To put this all in perspective, I crunched a few numbers. Most of us would agree that the cost of gasoline is relatively high; somewhere around $3 a gallon. It costs me about $40 to fill up the tank of my fuel-efficient car.
If, heaven forbid, the cost of fuel ever comes close to matching what an ounce of water goes for at Broadway theaters, I’ll be forced to take out a loan every week or so for about $1,200 – that’s $80 a gallon!
The bottom line? Drink plenty of liquids before seeing Mama Mia! – or any other show on Broadway – and keep your legs crossed tightly and hope the performance doesn’t run long.