Why am I buying tickets for events that won’t happen? Because of hope – and boredom

A year ago today, I had tickets for the musical Six. It’s the story of the wives of Henry VIII, told through the medium of natty, speechful Spice-Girls-esque melodies and lyrics. I oscillate between two favourites: Anne Boleyn (“Everybody chill, it’s totes God’s will) and Anne of Cleves (“Got gold chains / Symbolic of my faith in the higher power / In the fast lane / My horses can trot up to 12 miles an hour”).

I got into it only because my 11-year-old was, but her preferences move much faster than mine. Culturally, we are like a rabbit and an elephant trying to go for a walk together. She had listened to it, digested it, learned the lyrics and moved on in about a week; I am still humming Catherine of Aragon’s pop lament a year later.

Anyway, it was cancelled. I rebooked for September, but couldn’t figure out how to use my compensatory gift card, then that show got cancelled. Ahora, I had four tickets to theoretical pop opera. I rebooked for November (no dice), then accidentally booked a performance in April, even though I knew nothing would open till May. Then I added two tickets to the Back to the Future musical, to attend with my son, for a date that never existed.

En este punto, I had virtual gift cards swimming across my inbox and no human way of keeping track of them. Then I got a call from Michael at the box office. “I thought the phone might be easier,” he started. “Also, I’m a bit bored.” “Me too. Terribly bored. What I need is some musical theatre.” Well, that is where he could help, so long as we understood that all this was hypothetical and impossibly distant. I may as well have been booking a seat on the first commercial trip into space or organising the cryogenic storage of my body.

I ended up planning Back to the Future for May and Six – for the sixth time – for September. I guess I will be speaking to Michael again in April, and then in August, and possibly in between, which is roughly as often as I speak to the members of my extended family.

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