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Thirteen Hours & Chocolate.

February 10, 2017

Once the news that you could sign a sheet with your email address and log on to the website, in order to get your two 40$ tickets to The Book Of Mormon The Musical, the queer kids behind me hastily signed the sheets and went home. They were weak, I thought as my resolve simply grew stronger. I was not going home without two tickets held in my own hands. I had come too far to simply go home now. Also, I did not really trust the internet. What if the site crashed? I would rather stand here in this line without any food or water, than I would want to bother with annoying internet forms and such. I had exactly 80$ in my wallet and no money in the bank. I felt like a lone wolf or half of a gun fight at dawn: focused and pulled tight with concentration.

The queer kids were very interesting. There was the amazing male identifying kid who was wearing the most amazing yellow blazer I had ever seen. He had seen the musical in New York and simply thought getting cheap tickets would be a good way to get a babe to date him and make out with him. The female identifying friend wearing a dress they said thier mother got for them and was ”vintage as it was from the 90s!’ Had recently gotten released from a psych ward. There was an American girl who was wearing an adorable dress covered in a cat print. She had also seen the musical in New York and thought it would be nice to get some cheap tickets. She was not too bothered as she was just happy to hang in the line with her friends.  Yellow blazer had a huge picnic blanket that they spread out so we could all sit on it as we waited in the line. It was 8am at this point and the line was huge. I happily sat on the blanket with the baby queer kids and they suggested we go around the circle and introduce ourselves and our preferred pronouns. The weather was cool and the sky was cloudy.

There had been people camping out the front of the Prices Theatre since 4pm the day before. I noticed people on thier way to work staring at the line. One man in shorts and thongs had his phone out and simply filmed the entire line from across the street. I glared at him as he walked past my section of line.  Having people to talk to did make the time go quicker. It was nice to know I had my book in my bag in case I got tired of talking.  These kids seemed very young and I had no doubt I would tire of it eventually. Yellow blazer was talking about how upset they got at someone at a party who had commented that they often felt uncomfortable around white men. I thought this was an understandable feeling. Yellow Blazer explained how victimised they felt at such a statement. I stayed silent with some difficulty.  The line moved a little bit and we all stood up and picked up the blanket to move forward four steps.

I listened to Cat dress and Yellow blazer discuss their  views on dating as the person in the 90s dress lay with their head in the lap of Yellow Blazer. The sun had come out a bit stronger and I removed my own less amazing blazer that had been free from a friend who was almost as short in stature as I. ”I just want to kiss all the babes.” Yellow Blazer exclaimed. I noticed they were also wearing an amazing button up navy shirt with a bow tie.  There was so much I loved about the outfit.  Cat Dress did not share Yellow Blazer’s enthusiasm for babe kissing, or, she did not care for what was required in order to get to the babe kissing part. ”I just find dating incredibly tiresome.” She said in her American twang.  The kids did not ask me anything about myself at all. It was wonderful. The talked excitedly and without taking any breath. It was as if every single word was of the utmost importance and had to be shared straight away.

Once the line had moved to a point where you could see Amphlett Lane and the street art showing the iconic school uniform that  Chrissy Amphlett often wore and her two beloved dogs.  The queer kids started squealing about how cute the doggos were. ”That lane is named after the lead singer of The Divinyls.” I said. ”Do the dogs have anything to do with her?” Yellow Blazer asked.  ”Yes, they were hers.” I said. ”You should youtube her band. They are amazing.” Yellow Blazer nods.They have no intention of looking up some old lady band.

It is about at this time that we are informed that all the 20$ tickets are gone. My heart sinks a bit. We are told that it is not to despair as if you stay in line you can still get two 40$ tickets. I sigh in relief and double check my funds. The cool breeze blowing through the city is lovely and I am glad the day is not hot. I figure that free coffee should  give me adequate sustenance for all this line standing. Some guy with a big camera stalks around taking photographs. Up the line there is a man and women in faded clothes. They are standing with their arms around each other and the woman is laughing. There is a fold up stool and a plastic bag next to them. The man and woman break away and the man sits on the stool and pulls out a note book and a pen. ”We were going to go to the pool after this.” He says laughing.  He sits on his stool and jots stuff down in his notebook. It is not a moleskin. It is one of those ones you can buy at a supermarket for $2,95.  Another group of older people in the line have become friends while waiting. They discuss their children and how much rain they have gotten during the week. They discuss parking and what kind of fresh hell the traffic will be when they finally get to drive home. They are cheerful and in good spirits. Holding each others place in the line for toilet trips and snack missions.

The line keeps moving in tiny ways and larger more positive ways. The yellow Blazer and friends are getting quiet and more bored. When the sheets for email sign ups get handed around they sign and flee. I was hoping more people in front of me would vacate the line. Some people do go home and I find myself standing behind two older ladies in their 50s to early 60s. They are sitting on milk crates and offer me the spare one. ”You can sit on my scarf if the crate is to sharp.” One of the ladies says. Her name is Ann and her friend is Karen. I sit on the crate and fall into easy conversation with the two women.

Karen and Ann knew each other back when they lived in Wagga, but they were not friends or enemies. They both moved to Melbourne within a 3 month period and became close friends around the time their marriages dissolved at the same time. ”That is so wonderful.” I said. ”That our marriages fell apart or that we became friends?” Ann said. ”Could it be wonderful that both things happened?” I asked. Ann wrinkled her nose in response ‘Nah.” She replied. They had been friends for over ten years.  They love the theatre and usually buy tickets for something to go see together for every birthday. ”We are both geminis.” Ann says. ”I think that means something.”

‘I do not.” Karen says.

There is a great deal of excitement when we get to the point in the line that is actuall at the start of the line with velvet rope that creates a snake at the frot of the theatre. It is nearly time and I can hear people cheering as they exit the theatre with tickets. I decide I will not cheer. I will quietly and with dignity, exit the theatre and make my way to Parliment station. The milk crates are a bit annoying now so I leave mine for someone else to sit on.When the women find out that I was raised Mormon they have some questions. ”What made you leave?” I say that I simply started thinking for myself and i found I could not be a feminist and go to church without wanting to tear my hair out and scream in frustration.

Karen asks me a question that makes me stop and think hard. ”Is there anything that you got from being raised in the mormon church?”

”Good stories to tell strangers.” I say quickly. ”Its a weird thing to have first hand knowledge of.” I say. ”I guess I am glad that I have that lived experience as writing fodder.” My new friends look interested and I can feel that they are listening and its nice. ”It is also really great to have so many rules to break.” I say. Sex and drinking wine is so much fun when you first start doing it, because you have been told so many times how sad that stuff will make you.”

There are a group of young kids ahead of us who are playing cards as they wait. There is a very large man in a Star Wars t shirt standing and chatting to another very large man wearing a Hawaiian shirt. There is an Asian man standing behind me in a blue t shirt with CALIFORNIA written across the front. Karen asks him if he has been to California. ‘No.’He says. ”The t shirt was from Kmart.”  He turns to me. ”Jessica.” He says. ”Your name is Jessica isn’t it?”

”Yep.”

”Is Mormonism like Scientology?” He asks this very respectfully and with great interest. It is a great question.  ”I would say no at my first instinct.” I say. ”BUT! I do think they have some things in common. Both religions were started by white men. Both have a badly written manifesto. One written by the founder of scientology himself and the other translated from golden plates that a boy was told about at age 14 or so. Mormon people do not live on a boat like  Scientology people did. The level of famous people involved in both religions is varied as well. Scientology has Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The Mormons have Mitt Romney and the  Brandon Flowers who is lead singer of The Killers.”

The man in the California t shirt has a plastic bag with him that contains a few bottles of water, some empty and one unopened. He offers me the unopened  water. I accept with gratitude.   I gulp the water and it sloshes around my throat. It is 6pm.  People who saw us on their way to work now see us as they return home. Karen gives me some fresh limes from her bag. Ann has a lime tree and Karen slept over at her friend’s apartment last night. ”These will go great in my gin and tonics.” I say. ”Thank you.” Ann and Karen start planning their celebration of getting tickets. They are in need of a stiff drink and some food. They invite me to join them. I really want to. I cannot as I only have money for the tickets. ”I would love to.” I say. ”I have plans already.”

It is 7pm when I and my new friends get to the ticket sellers. I hand over my cash and get two tickets printed and handed to me. I share excited exclamations and Karen and Ann ask me when I’m going. ”10TH of Feb.” I say. ”The ladies get my blog details and promise to look my writing up as does the lovely gentlemen in the blue California t shirt who is in the process of getting him and his wife tickets as I say my goodbyes.

I make my way to Parliament station and ride the escalator down to platforms 3 and 4. I walk past the vending machine and stare longingly at the treats I have no change for. It occurs to me for no other reason than curiosity, to put my hand into the part where treats drop after you have swiped your card or put change in. My hand comes into contact with a bag of something. It is cold and I pull it out excitedly.

It is a bag of Malt Teasers.

I sit on the train with tickets to the Mormon musical, two free and fresh limes and a free bag of chocolate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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