Age 16 11th Grade: Acrophobia Gets You the Good Seats

This is the 13th post in a 12 week series joining
Mommy’s Piggy Tales to record my youth!

11th Grade
Acrophobia Gets You the Good Seats

In 1995 I turned 16 and entered 11th Grade. I was in my second year on the Dance Line for the marching band. The band took a trip to Toronto, Canada. It was the first time that I’ve really traveled anywhere (except for visiting my grandparents in Orlando, FL every summer).

One of our first nights in Toronto we went to the Rock ‘N Roll Diner (I think that’s what it was called) to eat. And we got to dance, which I love. This was the first time I’d ever heard/saw the Macarena. Obviously my life was changed from that point on. We had a blast 🙂 After all of the dancing it was time to get back onto the bus and go to a show.

We were going to see Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. I was pretty excited because, not only do I love the theater, but I’m a huge Disney fan and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite movies. We got into the theater and made our way up to the balcony. I entered the doorway to the balcony and only took one look before I hit my knees. It was high. It was very, very high. I have a fear of heights. I’ve been in balconies before and usually if I shield my vision of “the drop” and sit with the program in front of my face until the lights are off…I’m fine. But this was very steep. Just taking one step into that room I felt like I was going to fall into the orchestra pit. So here I was in my green velvet evening gown crawling on the floor in the balcony of the Princess of Wales Theater. My friends managed to somehow get me to a seat and then promptly put a program in front of my face while fanning me with others. It didn’t help. The seats alone freaked me out more. Basically the top of the back of the chair in front of me was at my toes (at least that’s how it felt to me). It was very steep and I felt like I would fly right out of the seat. Did I mention that it was very high? And also very steep? Well. It was very high and very steep!!!

I was almost hyperventilating when my friends got the chaperons involved. One of them offered to get me water and I accepted, but they came back and said that they weren’t allowed to bring drinks into the theater. Now they wanted me to get up and go sit in the lobby to calm down. GET UP?!!! Do you know how hard it was to get into this seat to begin with, and you want me to get up? I’m never getting up again! I will live and die in this seat! If I get up I’m just certain I’ll fall right over the edge! From what I remember a lot of people stood up in the row in front of me hoping to shield my vision and I swear about 18 people had their hands on me helping me to the aisle where I once again tried to crawl my way up the stairs and out of the door. I sat in a chair in the lobby where I drank water and tried to calm down. Eventually one of the ushers came up to me and told me that there were some empty seats downstairs that I could sit in. I didn’t want to go alone and they said that I could take one person with me. My good friend/boyfriend, Michael, volunteered to go with me (there was no way he’d let me out of his sight once he was in protector mode).

Once I was settled into “the good seats” on the ground where the good Lord intended human beings to be, I was able to calm down and enjoy the show. I loved the show! There were songs in the live show that weren’t in the animated movie and the choreography for “Gaston!” was awesome. I loved every minute of it. Once I was on the ground, mind you 😉

While this was the most traumatizing part of the trip it seemed to be the beginning of a theme which was, “Hey, let’s visit every place up high that exists in Canada and freak Jenn out!”. We went to some big famous ball park stadium place (yeah, you can tell I’m not into sports) for some sort of tour. I’m not sure what we were actually doing there, because they had us up high again and I opted to stay out in hallway or whatever you call it. Then we also went to the CN Tower. I’m not sure if it serves any purpose other than to be up all high and frighten poor little girls like me. I went up the tower (I had to stay with the group) but didn’t go look out the window and certainly did not go walk on the glass floor.

We went to see Phantom of the Opera and luckily the Pantages Theater’s balcony was more normal and not quite so steep. With lots of help from my friends shielding me and supplying me with programs I was able to remain in my balcony seat for the entire performance. I really wasn’t familiar with “Phantom” prior to this and had been looking forward to it since everyone and their brother seemed to think that “Phantom” was the best musical ever. I didn’t like it and I think I even fell asleep during part of it. My friend, Meghan, and I would blame it on the fact that the cast that night was mostly understudies (and their understudies) and there must’ve been a malfunction with the chandelier that made it creep down slowly rather than crash. But the truth is that I really didn’t care for the storyline…at least not for a musical. It didn’t have enough dancing for me (by the way, I like the dancing if you hadn’t caught on). It’s not the tragedy of the whole thing. I can get into a good tragic love story as much as the next gal. It was just weird with the whole “It’s my theater, but I haunt it, and I’m a father-figure to you, but I love you…”, it creeped me out. West Side Story…now there’s a musical love tragedy that I can get into. Having the love of your life die in your arms shortly after he purposely/accidentally killed your brother is something to sing and dance about, in my humble opinion. But I digress…

We wrapped up our trip to Toronto with a visit to Niagara Falls. Maybe I was just in a pessimistic mood after “Phantom” had disappointed me, or maybe all things pale in comparison to a near-death experience crawling in a balcony while wearing an evening gown…but I just couldn’t get all excited about a bunch of dirty, smelly water rolling around. Perhaps if I visit it in my adulthood with a fresh touch of optimism I can see what’s so great about all of the water. As long as I don’t have to go anywhere up high first.

P.S. Just FYI despite my obviously irrational fear of heights I have absolutely no fear of flying and have done so on several occasions without incident. I am truly a complex soul.

*My 16th Birthday

My Piggy Tales:
*My Birth Story: I’m always late!
*Ages 3-5: Dancing in a box
*Age 6 First Grade: There’s a bra in my lunchbox!
*Age 7 Second Grade: Bossy Wheels and Shady Deals
*Age 8 Third Grade: I will not talk in class
*Age 9 Fourth Grade: I didn’t really need those fingers anyway!
*Age 10 5th Grade: Nothing’s Scary in the Fifth Grade
*Age 11 6th Grade: Jenny Got Ran Over by her Grandma
*Age 12 7th Grade: Youth Camp Stinks
*Age 13 8th Grade: “Talent” Show
*Age 14 9th Grade: (N)O Christmas Tree
*Age 15 10th Grade: The Newsboys Wouldn’t Ditch Their Friends
*Age 16 11th Grade: Acrophobia Gets You the Good Seats
*Age 17 12th Grade: In School Suspension

My Young Adult Years
*Dreams and Aspirations: The Long Road There
*Friends and Fellowship: Friends Don’t Get Friends Grounded
*My First Job
*How I Met Cool Daddy Part 1
*How I Met Cool Daddy Part 2
*Colonel Mustard on a Rollercoaster with a Plastic Fork

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Posted on January 7, 2011, in Flashbacks, Humor, Jenn, Mommy's Piggy Tales and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I am the same way with heights! I have major problems with bleachers too.


  2. I’m with you about those steep steep seats, but once I get seated I’m OK. Great that you got to enjoy the play from the (expensive) first floor! The ball field in Toronto is called Skydome… and I understand why you didn’t enjoy it!

    However, someday you should return to Niagara Falls, plan the visit well, and enjoy it. I’d suggest you send your family into the deep cave and out to climb on the scaffolding in the water (American side) and YOU stay on the bridge to take some awesome photos. We did this, by accident, and our kids LOVE the photos of themselves in raincoats “experiencing” the falls.

    As usual, I REALLY enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing


  3. I’d love to go back to Niagara Falls someday when my daughter is a little older. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it a lot more without previously being terrified by the balcony, The CN Tower, and the Skydome! If we decide to see any shows at the Princess of Really High Things Torture Fear Wailing Wales Theater…we’ll be certain to spring for the “good” seats!


  1. Pingback: 38 Random Things About Me | I Make Myself the Queen

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