So I have a very, very, sad story to tell. Of course, if you don’t know who Benedict Cumberbatch is, this isn’t going to make much sense.
So here. On the right.
The short story is that he’s a marvellous British actor whose career is taking off in a major way (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, BBC’s Sherlock, The Hobbit, and the new Star Trek sequel, to name a few). To answer a few common questions: Yes, he’s naturally a ginger. No, he’s not gay. Yes, he’s too old for me. No, I don’t give a damn.
And now on with my story.
Several days ago, I became aware of THIS, which, as you may notice, is a combined piano and poetry concert. Poems from WWI are read to contemporaneous music from Debussy, Ravel, etc. And the reader (of course), is Mr. Cumberbatch.
I caught wind of this very early, before the website even updated their roster with his name. There were well over 100 tickets available, so I figured I’d wait until the morning after I’d talked with my travel buddy, see if this was something she’d like to do.
The next morning (which was mid-afternoon in the UK), the tickets were gone. I was a bit crushed, but I resolved to keep checking back. To my surprise, 6 tickets appeared. I snatched up two in row G then clicked my way to completion as fast as I could. Even then, I was careful not to celebrate until the confirmation was sent to me.
Except it never came. When I tried to submit my credit card information, it reported an error in processing, saying my credit card had not been charged. I tried a few more times, to no avail. After 20 minutes, my cart automatically cleared. So I lost them. Lost my two tickets. The box office was closed by then (again, 7 hours difference!), so there was nothing I could do.
I kept checking back. Nothing. And still nothing. Suddenly I got an e-mail. It was from my bank, saying that my card was on alert for fraud. I figured, “Yup, online purchases making a fuss again. Ah well.” So I called. It was worse than I thought.
Those payments HAD gone through. And they went through ELEVEN times. 11 charges of £34. Do the math.
Actually, I lied. They only partially went through. They were suspended in the system, but they were there nonetheless. So I asked to keep them that way and notify me if anything changed. (As it happens, the charges drop off after a few days in limbo.)
I call the box office the next day, with some difficulty (note to self: take off the “0” from British numbers when dialling long distance). They told me the finance department was closed until Monday. So sorry, nothing doing. It certainly wasn’t their fault, but I was fuming anyway. 48 hours until I knew whether I got those damned tickets.
Monday arrives. I call the box office as soon as they open (4:00am my time). Through the haze of sleepiness, I discerned that the tickets had slipped through my fingers and the payment never went fully through. But they were awfully lovely about it. They apologized for the mess and offered to place us at the top of the waiting list.
But. (Saw that coming, didn’t you?)
We’re supposed to be in Cambridge during the concert. Cheltenham is a 2.5-hour drive from there. And we’re both under 25. I can rent a car, it’s just much more difficult (and expensive). Problem being, they get the vast majority of their return tickets the day of the event. So we won’t know until the very last minute whether we have them.
Dilemna, much? Do we plan as if we’re going or just forget the whole thing now? I opted for what little middle ground exists. So I decided to get an international driver’s license, just in case, but not to book any car rentals for now. The rest is out of my hands. I’m just praying somebody has the foresight to return their unused tickets EARLY and I can snatch them up. My phone is now on me 24 hours a day. And every day I will it to notify me that I’m the new owner of two tickets.
So please. If you’re reading this and you just can’t make the concert, pretty pretty please hand them in sooner rather than later. We’re already crossing the Atlantic, I don’t mind travelling a few more kilometers to see one of my favourite actors perform.