As I sat there at my desk, watching the time tick away on the lower right hand corner of my screen, I busied myself with a game of Freecell solitaire. I tried to keep my attention on the descending red and black order without clicking away to the window just behind the game where the Ticketmaster site lay. Taunting me. There were still three minutes left until Bruce Springsteen tickets would go on sale, and I was exercising all the restraint I had over my obsessive compulsive disorder by not refreshing every few seconds. What if the clock at Ticketmaster was just a few seconds, or even a minute, off of my own?
This was my line. There was no one to my left or right with whom to commiserate. Just me and that screen. No one to talk to about the achingly slow process of waiting. No one to share stories about shows I've seen or lines in which I had waited. Lonely. And focused.
When ten o'clock arrived, I refreshed one more time and hit the newly appeared "find tickets" button. As the whirly graphic attempted to hypnotize me into believing that they would return in "less than three minutes" with my requested three tickets. And whirled. And whirled. Until at last there was a new screen that asked me to type in a confirmation of the swirled letters that appeared in a box. Back in the olden Select-A-Seat days we sometimes had to wait while a person rejiggered their printer or reconnected to their computers, but you could watch them do that from just across the counter. Here I was typing in a secret code that made me wait yet again, just at the moment when all seemed right with the world. Suddenly, the clouds parted and there they were: three seats, near the back, in the upper level. Three hundred and forty-eight dollars with convenience charges. The convenience of sitting in front of my home computer and anxiously awaiting this moment. I clicked on "confirm." Then another round of confirmation processes, and finally an e-mail was sent, telling me of the fifteen minute experience I had just shared with their severs and how in seven to ten days this virtual would become real in my mailbox. And so I wait.