Sensible Shoes

When I bought my ticket for a musical performance at the local theatre, I assumed I would get there by taking a half-hour walk along the waterfront. I don’t like driving at night and the theatre is close enough to walk to. What I didn’t anticipate was a blizzard two days before the event.

When the day arrived, I made repeated checks on the outside temperature and several watchful gazes out of the window to see if the pathway was walkable. I saw the snow being cleared by a snowplough and was somewhat optimistic until I saw some dog walkers gingerly tiptoeing around icy patches. That’s when I realized it would not be wise to attempt this walk in the dark.

Even though the journey would be a short one, I decided my best course of action would be to take a taxi. I had tried driving my own car to run an errand the day before and found the driveway out of the condo complex to be treacherously icy. I also found that many side streets that went uphill from the waterfront were too dangerous to try to drive down on the return journey. I went the long way round instead. So, I would have to take a taxi to the theatre or not go to the event at all.

I was a little anxious about this because, first, I had never before been to the theatre alone and, second, taking a taxi seemed like an extravagance. The second concern was the easiest to resolve. I went online and picked a taxi company that had decent reviews. There is no Uber in Nanaimo, and I feared I would be charged a small fortune but I was wrong. After I had signed on and booked the cab, the quoted price was very reasonable.

I spent the afternoon vaguely wondering what to wear and whether or not people still got dressed up for the theatre. I decided to compromise and wear a nice top with black jeans and very sensible shoes. The sensible shoes were the best bet for walking up the icy driveway to meet the taxi. I left home early to give myself lots of time to pick my way slowly up the path to the street, and I was surprised to find the cab already there waiting for me.

Because both the cab and I were ready early, we arrived at the theatre much too soon for the performance. The staff were still setting up to receive audience members, and so I found a place to sit and watch as people began arriving. I soon realized that I need not have worried about what to wear. Most people were wearing smart-but-casual clothes under their thick winter coats.

The ticket I had bought online turned out to be much too close to the stage and would have given me a crick in my neck if I had tried to view the performance from there, so I went back out to the foyer and the ticket office to change my seat. This turned out to be a good decision. The new seat gave me a good line of sight to the stage, and I was seated next to a woman who had also arrived solo. The first thing I noticed about her, though, was that she was dressed up for the occasion. She was wearing a formal dress with a pearl necklace, and she had multiple rings on her fingers. What struck me most, however, was that she was carrying a glittery gold evening clutch purse. I instantly felt under-dressed.

As we chatted, I realized that she was a longtime supporter of the local artists and artisans, and regularly attended the theatre. She was also very proud of the car she drove which could, apparently, climb icy mountain roads in a single bound and it would notify her if her gaze was not sufficiently focussed on the road. I was nonplussed by this information and wasn’t sure whether to be dismayed or impressed.

At the interval, a young person with bright crimson hair walked past us and my seat mate made a disdainful comment about that person’s ambiguous gender identity. It was so uncalled-for I was stunned into silence. I wished I had said something to contradict her nastiness, but I didn’t. Perhaps my silence said enough, but I doubt it. In any case, that was enough for me to calm my concerns about my own appearance. All the glittery clutch purses in the world can’t conceal narrow-minded malice.

To compound her rudeness, she left the theatre five minutes before the end of the performance, missing the last song which was a beautiful climax to the whole event. I don’t know why she left early, but she didn’t say goodbye. Perhaps she thought that it would be beneath her to acknowledge someone wearing sensible shoes.


  1. What was the name of the Musical? If that was your view then you did well on changing seats. As for your seatmate there’s a reason why she was solo at the performance. (insert grin emogi)

    • It was an event showcasing musicians from Vancouver Island. The first half was jazz and the second half was folk rock. In the second half the principal performer was wearing a skirt, so I’m glad I couldn’t see up it!

      You may be right about the reason my seat mate was solo. One of the first things she said to me was that she no longer went to the movie theatre because she didn’t care for the class of people who went there. That was the first red flag. 🙂

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