Unless it is a performance weekend, and the performance is an early matinee at the other end of Manhattan. Given all the joys of weekend subway work, getting to an unfamiliar place on a Saturday becomes even more of an adventure. The MTA trip planner is often quite fanciful when suggesting itineraries, but in this instance the detours actually worked in my favor, and the estimated trip time turned out to be pretty accurate.
One weekend down, one to go. Got the route set, so no worries.
Things are going swimmingly on the second Saturday, until I am skimming through the series of stations between 125th and Columbus Circle, popping in and out of wifi range. I am right on schedule to arrive at Will Call for an 11 AM show. It is eight minutes past ten, and my phone goes off. A text message from the dancer.
"I think I left my black tights at home."
Pretty innocent, on the surface, no?
But this is a performance weekend, and this is no ordinary pair of black tights. What this text message actually means is:
"I'M ON IN FORTY-FIVE MINUTES AND I'M MISSING HALF MY COSTUME!"
For once the whacked out subway works to my advantage. Since there is absolutely no going back home to try to search for the missing tights, I get off the train at 50th and call the dancer to inform him of this and assess the situation.
Ballet Mommy instincts proving correct, I am already heading for Capezio when he says yeah, he guesses I should stop and buy a pair of tights. No biggie, right?
Oh, wrong. Because these are men's tights. Specifically, a men's small, black, capri tight. Think about it. What do you see in the windows of dancewear stores? Tutus. Lots and lots of pink. With nary a thought for the talented gentlemen who have to hoist all that tulle over their heads and make a long, slow lap of the stage, because it's all about making the ballerina look good. The clerk at Capezio, informed of a wardrobe emergency, waves in the general direction of the back of the store, while telling me she doesn't think they have any. I'm annoyed, make a quick perusal, and decide to hoof it over to Sansha, where the clerks can put their fingers on exactly what you need within minutes.
Sansha doesn't open until 11 on Saturdays.
Back to Capezio, where I storm through and begin ransacking the men's tights, finally locating a solitary pair of small, black, footless tights that don't cost a week's wages. Not perfect, but not something that will have to be scissored into submission before going onstage. Because at this point it is twenty-five minutes to curtain.
I snatch my receipt and leave the clerk holding the fancy little shopping bag while I run for the elevator, then run back to the subway. Once there I text the dancer, warning that I'm probably not going to make it by eleven.
Approaching the end of the ride, I text the dancer that I am ten minutes out, and get off the train at five to eleven. When I reach the theater it is curtain time. There is no line of children and parents waiting to pick up tickets. Everyone is inside, except one techie hanging out the front door, and the lady at the ticket counter who says,
"Are you Karen?"
"Yes, and I have Q's tights."
The ticket lady grins. "He owes you big time."
She has no idea.
The tech runs the tights backstage, since it really ain't cool to have your male lead go on in an improvised costume at a children's show. I get my tickets and head upstairs. I have time to catch my breath before one of the directors comes out to introduce the show.
Q has rolled the tights up below his knees to make them work, and the show goes on. He is smart enough to take me to a neat little ice cream shop across the street, when it's over.
I still don't know if he ever found the wayward capris. Our shoebox apartment tends to eat things. We are looking for a new place (isn't everyone, in NYC) and I expect packing to move will unearth any number of phones, keys, dance belts, tech shoes and other assorted accoutrements which have mysteriously disappeared over the years.
What I need it to cough up is a magical piece of paper with the numbers to a big fat Swiss bank account.
Hey, it's New York. Anything is possible.