My seeing Doug Stanhope? What a fucking disaster.
I have, as I've mentioned repeatedly, generalized and social anxiety disorders. So this was going to be difficult for me. A place I've never been before, a crowd, and going alone. Three components for a complete fucking meltdown.
I investigated online and found pictures of the inside of the venue as a way to calm myself down. Loose chairs, lots of seating. It's two+ hours away so I was careful with my spending to make sure I'd have gas money to get there and back. I saved up anti-anxiety pills and took a few extra. I even looked kinda cute that night!
I get there early enough to find really close parking. Go inside, find a seat, and wait patiently. It turns out that there's an upstairs and that's where he's performing. Drama with my will-call ticket but it was figured out. I managed to climb the flight of steps with minimal difficulty. The doors are locked so I sit around waiting for them to be opened. I end up talking to an awesome girl.
Eventually they open the doors and we all climb up another flight of stairs and go inside. So, I'm finally in the club. There's no seating. None.
I go to the back of the room – where I can't hear anything – and lean on the bar. That only works for so long. My back and legs are shaking. I haven't been receiving massages so my pain is back at Threat Level Orange. I swallow my pride and say to the bartender, “Excuse me! Hi, I'm sorry to be a bother but I'm disabled and have severe back problems. Standing for any length of time leaves me in serious agony. Is there any possible way I can get a seat?” As the entire outside patio was empty and filled with chairs.
He says, “of course”, and goes off to get me one. On his way back, the manager stops him and tells him to put it back. He doesn't care that I can't stand...I can't have a chair. Because if he let's one person have a chair, other people will want them too. “So you're saying that, because my back injury leaves me unable to stand for very long, I can never return to this venue ?” No exceptions. Whoa.
I stay leaning on the bar. After two openers, Doug Stanhope comes on but the club is full and noisy, the sound system is terrible, and I'm so far in the back of the room that I can't even hear what's being said.
He's only been on a few minutes when I reach the point where my legs are about to give out and the pain radiating up and down my back is excruciating. I limp outside and almost fall going down the stairs because my knees keep giving out. I make it to a chair and sit for awhile. When I finally stood again, I was absolutely unable to climb up the stairs back to the club.
So I had to leave early. It took me ages to make it to my car where I collapsed and shook forever.
Not being able to see something I've wanted to see for years, a friend gifting me this kick-ass opportunity and have it fall apart, more than four hours of driving, $40 in gas, and still unable to walk without holding onto something two days later. Zydeco: prepare to feel my wrath.
I automatically felt ashamed. That it was my fault anyway and have no right to complain or be upset. Obviously it's just because I'm a fatty and blah blah self loathing blah. But, seriously, that's bullshit. On several levels. A) I was between 300 and 400 pounds back when I went to clubs on a weekly basis and danced for hours. When I went to concerts and stood in the pit for hours. When I was able to climb three flights of stairs every day. When I was able to function. But the pain I'm dealing with doesn't allow for those things anymore. And B) Dude, whose fucking business is it as to why I need to sit down? I physically needed to sit down because I was in excruciating pain. The End. There was a guy there with wrapped ankle who had to stand on his good foot, leaning against the wall, all night.
I mean, what the fuck? Bullshit. Such complete and utter ableist bullshit.
I found the name of the owner online but also came across several reviews talking about what an absolute dick he is so I don't expect the letter I write him to really have any impact. But I'll write one anyway. Something along the lines of:
Dear Owner of Zydeco (cough located at 2001 15th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35205 cough):
Suck my balls.
* I went to a new place, with a lot of people, all by myself. And the world didn't end!
* I discovered that, whenever I'm scared to do something, telling myself, “Heidi, seriously, come on. You got rid of everything you owned, drove cross-country to live with someone you'd never met in a state you'd never been to before. (Activity) is a fucking cakewalk.” makes it seem a hell of a lot less scary.
* And I think I even looked a little cute!