Up on a shelf, next to some old journals, I have a box filled with memories.
Tonight, I’m going to a concert, and I won’t be able to put it in that box.
The concert is down at the Seattle Town Hall tonight and the music is a collection of piano trios. I bought my tickets to the series through an online vendor. As is my habit, I paid a little extra ($6) to have the tickets sent to my home.
The tickets didn’t arrive, and there was a little back-and-forth between myself and the vendor. For some reason, mailing physical tickets is sometimes beyond their abilities (despite the additional cost), and remailing them or issuing a second set is Just Not Done.
As a “service” to me, the vendor changed me from physical tickets to “print at home” tickets. With time growing short, this was, sadly, the only option presented to me.
I was not pleased.
I admit it. I am a creature of the last century. I’ll keep up with the pace of change as much as I can but, dammit, when you give me the option to go old-school I’m going to go old-school.
Why? Because up on a shelf, I have a box full of memories. In it are ticket stubs from concerts, movies, and events I’ve gone to over the past forty years. There are my train tickets from Jerusalem to Haifa. There’s my stub from a Chick Corea concert. There’s the stub from the concert I went to solely because of the opening act (the prog-rock band Renaissance, who was opening for some guy named…Steve Martin; I heard he played the banjo, and I was going to leave after the opener). There are movie tickets from a hundred films, from the great (“Inception”) to the absolutely awful (“Red Sonja”).
Each ticket stub—the faded, the dogeared, the cheap, the expensive—is a memory.
Now, I have a page of 8.5×11 paper, printed at home. This is my ticket. It won’t be torn, stamped, or ripped in half at the door. It will be scanned with a laser. It has no presence. It has no history. It does not represent an exchange between me and the performers. It is too big, too flimsy, too cheap, and too ephemeral to fulfill the role as “ticket.” It is a virtuality, not an actuality.
It is not a memory. Even were I to fold it up, even if I were to trim it and laminate it to give it a facade of permanence, it would not suffice. Just as an e-book will not fit on my shelf, so is this e-ticket unable to fit into my box.
I have to keep up with the changes. I don’t have to like them.