There is nothing to drive my family more crazy than when I say the words “Did I ever tell you about the time Patrick Swayze winked at me?”
The thing about this wink was that it was epic.
It was an acknowledgement of a magical conspiracy.
And there was more to it than meets the eye…..
A number of years ago when our kids were still quite young but old enough to take care of themselves for a few days, Alan and I decided to treat ourselves to a London trip.
I wanted to visit Kensington Palace and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Alan wanted to have dinner in Rules Restaurant and take in an Art Gallery or two.
And there was one other thing. I’d seen Patrick Swayze on TV and he was talking about about Dirty Dancing the show, coming to the West End. I didn’t catch all the interview but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to see Patrick Swayze, my absolute hero, on stage on this trip to London.
I was only just getting the hang of online bookings and had managed the hotel, flights and train bookings but getting two tickets to see this legend couldn’t be too difficult could it?
I called on all my angels, dear departed loved ones, saints and the abundant universe to yield two tickets to see Patrick Swayze on stage in the West End on this upcoming trip.
I checked out tickets for Dirty Dancing and there were indeed two. I clicked all the right buttons and links and filled in all the requested information and pressed SUBMIT. Nothing happened. The little coloured wheel spun and spun and spun. Then a message appeared on screen - You Have Timed Out. I tried again, this time with two different seats and once again I had timed out as the slow speed internet of the day held up each purchase.
The next morning I set about the ticket hunt again. I tried another booking site and this time – oh boy, the ticket prices seemed to have jumped from £55 each to £95. And this time there were no two seats together.
I phoned Alan and I knew when he responded that he’d have been just as happy for me to book one seat but that’s not what he said. "Would you need to try another booking agent"? he asked. And once again, I went down into that hole that searching online leads to. Ever further down, down, down, following the thread, further and further until yessssss! It finally delivers what you’ve been searching for. At least that’s what you’re led to believe.
I was now looking at a booking website that was showing me the availability of two practically front row seats for the evening performance of Dirty Dancing. For £200 each!!!!
I phoned Alan.
I could hear the patience in his voice. "Trina check at the top of the screen that there’s a lock symbol." Indeed there was. Still good. We decided to go budget on the rest of our trip and purchase the ‘once in a lifetime’ tickets instead.
But just as I completed the form, I decided to check out the website and there I found complaint after complaint about double booking and rip off prices. And what’s more, when I went back into the site, the original tickets were no longer available but two even more expensive ones were. This wasn’t working out and I didn’t like the feeling that the ticket prices seemed to increase along with my desperation. It was time to take back control. It was time to let it go.
My prayer to see Patrick Swayze on stage in the West End was not to be. So be it.
Later that evening as I packed for our upcoming trip, Alan suggested we see a show anyway. We both love Musical Theatre and neither of us had seen Guys and Dolls, so we decided on that. Quickly and easily I found two tickets available at a reasonable price and I booked them. Easy peasy, nothing to it.
The following evening we had arrived in the heart of the West End. We enjoyed a plate of pasta and a glass of wine and set off for the theatre to collect our tickets at the booking office. Once in the theatre we followed the directions of the ushers and found ourselves with centre aisle seating, sixth row from the front. Fantastic seats with a clear view of the entire stage.
As we made ourselves comfortable and the lights went down, I breathed deeply and took a moment to savour the feeling of giving myself over to the pleasure of being transported by the performance ahead and deep appreciation for everyone involved in making it all possible. It was then I heard the words I will never forget.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, The Piccadilly Theatre is delighted to announce that the role of Nathan Detroit will from tonight be played by Mister Patrick Swayze."
Truly in my wildest dreams I could never have imagined a prayer so sweetly answered or the universe more perfectly aligned than this.
I was about to see the Patrick Swayze, on stage, in the West End – exactly as I had asked.
The show was wonderful and all my senses were filled to overflowing with appreciation of the wonderful talent and for the fabulous show and as the final song finished and the cast took their bow, I was catapulted by sheer joy, up out of my seat . It was then, at that very moment , that Patrick Swayze not six rows away from me, turned his head, looked me straight in the eye and gave me the most enormous wink. Applauding, grinning from ear to ear, I nodded my head in acknowledgement. I got it. ‘You see?’ said that wink. ‘We got here in the end’. Indeed we did - and I am forever grateful.