Friday night, I went with my cousin, sister and brother in law to go see Alkaline Trio and Bad Religion in Riverside, California. My cousin and I fell in love with Alkaline Trio 20ish years ago while still in high school. We were super stoked to go see them. It was ready for a night out and a reason to do my makeup and flat iron my hair. (Also if you’re a music buff, you know the title, The Girl at the Rock Show, is actually Blink 182 lyrics, and not either of the bands that I was there to see.)
We decided to go eat before the show. My sister got to the restaurant a few minutes before our cousin and me. She put her name on the waitlist. Once we got there we hung out outside talking while we waited for her name to be called. After about 30 minutes it was and we headed inside. It was a narrow walkway so they were in front of me walking. We got to the hostess section and a guy in line let my sister step past him but as I got closer, he started to inch forward so I couldn’t pass, so I inched forward. He wouldn’t make eye contact with me. After a few seconds of our game of chicken, I said, “Can I get through? My table is ready.” He acted all surprised that he was in my way, took a step back and mumbled something as I rolled by. (I think he thought I was trying to cut in line to put my name in at the hostess section. But maybe he was just a jerk.)
We sat down to eat. The girl that took us to our table offered to move my walker out of the way but the way the table was set up, it was easy to put it halfway under the table and keep it out of other peoples way. I told her I appreciated her asking but I would just leave it here. We ate, laughed and chatted before deciding to head to the venue (which was literally across the street from restaurant.)
Its always nerve-wracking to go to a new venue/restaurant/hotel etc. It can be hard to tell how they accommodate someone with walking aids. Yes, most businesses are required to be ADA accessible but it doesn’t mean that they are like that in person. We headed to check in where they were checking IDs and Proof of Vaccination cards. As we approached, it was clear there was a set of beautiful stairs looming in front of me. My sister and BIL got pulled into one check-in lane and we got pulled to another. We asked the guy who was making sure we were old enough to drink, where we go so I could get in without lugging my walker up the stairs. He stammered, he wasn’t sure. Thankfully, another security guard saw us and pulled us out of that line and told us to follow him to the elevators. He took us up to the second level where we got screened by a security guard standing outside the elevator doors. He said we were his first guests of the evening. He checked our tickets, waved the metal wand over us and told us to have a great night.
We headed into the auditorium. The tickets were “standing room only” so even if I had gotten a place to stand against a wall there would be no way that I could have stood 3 plus hours there without my walker. Luckily, there was a small wall that divided the room for about 8 rows of seats for people who had paid to sit, only to have 100s of people standing in front of them blocking the view of the stage. I parked myself there in front of 2 empty seats behind me so I wouldn’t be blocking anyone. (But soon 2 people did sit behind me.)
The show was phenomenal! Alkaline Trio was up first. The floor in front of us was pretty packed but people were really good about stepping around me as they walked by. I danced from my seat and sang along to my favorite songs. At one point a guy didn’t see me but his friend did. He was about to walk into me when his friend pulled him out the way while telling him he needed to watch where he was walking. They both shouted sorry and passed by.
When Bad Religion came on stage, the floor became super jam packed. I took this moment to go find a bathroom hoping it wouldn’t be too crowded. I rolled out to the lobby and the same guy who took us to the elevator said the only bathrooms were downstairs but he would take me there. He took me back to the elevator and showed me where the restrooms were. He said he would wait for me. I told him it was ok and he could leave but when I came back out, he was still there. When we were going back up to the main floor, I asked his name because I want to let the venue you know I appreciated his customer service. (I have had so much shitty ADA service at places that if someone or some company treats me great <not even above and beyond but just like, cool and helpful>, I want people in charge to to know about it.
Apparently, while I was in the bathroom, even more people had came in to watch the show. The audience was going nuts singing along. People were jumping, screaming and having a great time. A girl dancing in front of us kept dancing backwards towards us. At one point she was inches away from crashing into me. My cousin tapped her and then pointed to me. The girl made a face but moved forward. It got more and more crowded, and more and more people kept walking into me or almost crashing into me. My cousin kept trying to shoo people away from me. It finally slowed when my sister and BIL stood sort of in front / side of me, to block me.
My cousin and I left at the encore of Bad Religion to try to get ahead of the massive rush to the cars. (Cuz trying to out roll a crowd, is a big nope from me)
It felt really great to be out. I got home right before midnight. Even with all the people blatantly ignoring me sitting there or just being oblivious to my walker status, it was still one of the best nights I have had in a very long time.