We took a four-hour drive to Cedar Rapids today for a comedy club performance to benefit a cause I like. It’s really only three hours away, but when you couple our desire to take less-travelled roads with our inability to determine east from west, you can add a little.
When we got into town, the comedy club (Penguins, if you’re keeping score) was nowhere near where Google Maps said it would be. We went around and around, but found only warehouses and hotel parking lots.
So we found downtown, and went up and down each street. Which you know, if you’ve ever been to Cedar Rapids, takes some doing: the combination of ever-present construction and random one-way signs makes downtown a labyrinth. After the third trip around, I pulled into the art museum parking lot and called.
Yeah, the guy who answered the phone said, it’s hard to find. Google Maps is all wrong, and there’s construction right in front of the door. But we were less than two blocks away. We were also more than an hour early, so we toured around Cedar Rapids (BTW, what the heck is up with Coe College? A single one-way street going through the center of campus and no other roads? No parking by the auditorium or theatre? But I digress), found a place to park, took a walk to the river, meandered, walked through construction tunnels and finally got to the front door.
It said “The Vault” in chalk writing on the sign, not “Penguin’s” so I was confused. But the nice hipster bartender grabbing a smoke in the street said it was the same place, and to go ahead and go in. Sweet. We went in, and down a pretty steep set of stairs to an empty podium. The place was not remotely busy. Maybe six people at one bar, not a single person at the other.
Right behind the podium were a manager guy and some other guy sitting and eating. So we stood and waited.
Manager guy then said, “Wait right here and I’ll get the hostess.”
We waited. Right there. And we waited.
And we waited some more.
Hipster hostess came out, took one look at us and turned around and went back.
And we waited.
Manager guy came back out, and avoided eye contact.
And we waited.
And we waited.
There I was, desperately waiting to be chosen for P.E. basketball while the popular kids were retreating to the “who’s absent?” list. I jumped through a temporal wormhole to ladies’ nights twenty-some years ago in Santa Barbara where I was either refused entry, or denied the drink discount, because I wasn’t the type of lady the bars wanted.
I was a coward fidgeting in a corner, eager to hand my good money to people who could not be bothered to treat me as a fellow human being, at least worthy of a “hi, it will be just a minute.”
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” She was right. My dander took a Viagra and up it went. No one has the right to put BB in the corner and ignore me, or my husband. Or me-and-my-husband, who are really quite visible together. I could feel him steaming right alongside me.
And as much as we wanted to support the cause, and see the long-missed friends who would be there, we bailed. My dander stayed up all three hours home. (I will not need to call a physician.)
I’ll donate more money to the cause. But The Vault and Penguin’s will see none of our $30 entry fee, or two-drink minimums.
Idiots. I’m a hell of a tipper.