While the focus of this story isn’t food, it does revolve around food. I’ll do my best to explain, but before that, I promise that this story is true.
When I moved to Florida, I had given up my job in upstate New York and the decent salary that went with it. I took a job in Florida, where I was paid on commission. I’ll confess that I wasn’t a “rainy day saver”. I was more of a “I have it my pocket, so let’s spend it” kinda guy. This meant I was often broke.
With that said, I still wanted to do the things I enjoyed and that meant sometimes being creative.
One of the things I enjoyed was going to the theater and as a theater go-er, I was excited that the Broadway touring company of Miss Saigon was going to be playing in Orlando for several weeks. As the tickets were fairly expensive, considering my financial state, I had to use the creativity referenced above.
We decided that the smart thing to do was to wait a few weeks until some of the excitement and crowds of the opening weeks had died down and buy the cheapest ticket possible. We’d then wait for the lights to go down and we’d move from the rafters to the orchestra section. Great seats at cheap prices….smart…right?
All I can say is that this didn’t happen. I’ll explain.
The day we were supposed to go to the theater turned out to be one of those blisteringly hot summer days where it’s smarter to just stay in doors. The temperature and humidity were both in the high 90’s. It was hot and sticky.
When I went to pick up the friend that was going to the show with me, I arrived at his house as he was getting out of the shower. While I was waiting for him to get ready, I smelled this flowery, obnoxious smell. Joking, I asked if he was spritzing Jean Nate. You might have to be a certain age to remember the scent, but it was cheap women’s cologne that was sold by the half gallon.
He explained that it was powder given to him as a gift. I made the requisite “Grandmother” joke and a couple others I cant repeat here and off we went to the theater. All I can tell you is that this fragrance was strong.
Okay…we’re now at the theater and planning our “creative seating”.
As we walked into the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando, Florida, we were hit by the super strong aroma of caramelized nuts. You all know what I mean. These are the nuts they sell in theme parks and at sporting events. They take nuts and coat them in semi-burnt sugar and sell them in little paper cones.
The smell is strong outdoors. Indoors, it’s almost suffocating.
We made comments on the smell and headed to the bar to get a $9.00 Diet Coke and an $8.00 bag of M&Ms. (I’m willing to cut corners, but I’m not giving up theater snacks.)
Armed with our snacks, we headed up the flights of stairs to the upper balcony (cheap seats) to await the lowering of the lights and the opportunity to be “creative”.
If you have never been to the upper balcony of the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando. Florida, you will just have to take my word for the fact that it’s STEEP.. I have no idea of the degree of the angle, but the stairs feel more ladder-like than stair-like.
As we were trying to be inconspicuous and innocent looking, my fragrant friend and I took our seats.
Now, not to be indelicate, but when you sit in the upper balcony of the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando, Florida, the head of the person sitting directly in front of you is between your knees.
On this hot afternoon, the two people sitting in front of us were two theater ladies. You know who I mean. Big cotton candy hair and imitation Chanel suits.
There we sat, sweating and smelling of funeral home flowers and trying to make the best of it. I offered my friend a drink of Diet Coke (like 2 ounces was going to cool off either one of us) and ripped the top off the M&Ms. I gave the bag a bit of a shake and pointed the top at my friend.
It was at this point the woman sitting in front of my friend said what might be the second funniest things I have ever heard.
She said, very earnestly, “I smell your nuts” and without missing a beat, my friend replied with the funniest thing I ever heard. He said “no…it’s just the powder.”
I laughed so hard that the usher asked me if I needed medical attention….or a bathroom. This made me laugh harder. I moved to the other side of the theater and still laughed.
I truly tried to watch Miss Saigon but erupted into fits of the giggles every time I thought of it. This is not only inappropriate because it undermined the enjoyment of my fellow theatergoers, but Miss Saigon is a tragedy.
I left at intermission and I am sure that the folks in the touring company of Miss Saigon still wonder what happened on that day in August at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando, Florida.
As a side note, I cant pass that cart in Epcot without giggling.