I had hopes. High hopes. I had heard great things about the musical Hamilton, and was eagerly anticipating its debut in San Francisco. Imagine the excitement I felt when ticket purchase dates were announced. The cherry on top? American Express Cardholders got to purchase tickets a week earlier than the general public. Oh, the joy of belonging to an exclusive group!
Monday, December 5th arrived. At 8 am, I dutifully logged into my snhsf account, Amex card in hand. The tickets would go on sale at 10am Pacific Time, so I had plenty of time. I kept checking the web page, hoping for a preview of available seats, but, true to their word, snhsf would begin ticket sales at 10 am. So I got some work done while i waited.
I mentioned that I was waiting to purchase Hamilton tickets to a colleague, and as it turned out she was in line too! She informed me that a quick refresh of the snhsf page would direct me to a “Queue-it” page which would randomly assign me a number in the queue. I figured that since I had been waiting for an hour or so, I would get a favorable number. I refreshed the page and watched in dismay as the random number generator assigned position 47,700 to my account. 47,700!
Surely it had to be an error. I refreshed the page again, and, sure enough, 47,700 re-appeared. This is a situation that would be blamed on madimoni (demons) back home. If you know what madimoni are, then you must be from my country.
I was not going to be fazed by 47,700. I stared it down. I, Awino, would not be intimidated by 47,700. The number 47,700 became a living, breathing, malicious madimoni, and I, brandishing my Amex Card, had no intention of backing down. Five hours later, the number of buyers ahead of me had shrunk from 47,699 to 26,000. I had hope. My Amex card would not let me down. It would get me in to see Hamilton.
Six hours after my vigil begun, the queue page suddenly went blank, and then an error message appeared. I blinked, and blinked again. I really should have my eyes examined. I am seeing things. So I refreshed the page. “Sold Out” greeted me. 47,700 had won. And like the madimoni it was, it was rubbing salt into my raw wounds where, until recently, the hope of seeing Hamilton had resided. I closed the browser, and heard the ping of an email in my inbox. I checked my email, and there it was, “the line has ended and your place in line has been cancelled”. They were kind enough to include a link to the ended line. Why would I want to see it? The ended line? How is that different from telling someone, “I’m sorry you missed your flight, the plane has departed, however, here is a link to a photo of the plane.” It’s just not done.
A week later to the day, I logged in to snhsf again,determined not to let 47,700 have the last word. This time, the malicious random number generator decided to gloat in my face and assigned me 78,000. Like, oh, did you not like 47,700? I will show you! I read that between the lines. I did. And you know what? I am from Alego. And we do not give up. We never, ever give up. We are nothing if not tenacious. So I decided to check on my number every few hours, and finally at 6pm, I was in. I expected this website to have bells and whistles. I expected mango juice and mandazi (doughnuts) to be served to us, heck I was even willing to settle for a steaming cup of uji (porridge). Alas, what greeted me was a slap in the face, a hot slap like those doled out by askaris in my home country. What form did this hot slap take, you ask? Tickets priced north of $500 apiece. Yes, you read that right. All the cheaper tickets had been snapped up by those who were in good terms with the random number generator. Those of us who were on it’s you-know list, were made to wait, and then hit with $500 plus tickets.
I closed that page and haven’t visited it since. I know that the show sold out. I know that I won’t be going to see hamilton in 2017. But I draw comfort from the fact that I stared down the “random” number generator, twice, and with my Amex card in hand, faced the madimoni head on. Shindwe!