Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quenching your thirst and getting soaked

The lovely Miss Wendy and I were reaching way back into the, ah, vault of golden oldies recently, reminiscing about growing up in the '50s and '60s. Essentially we were attempting to outdo one another with “I remember” memories focusing on the low cost of stuff.

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?”
Him: “$5”
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.

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