“Are there drinks INSIDE the venue?”, I asked the person on the door at the Sydney Spiegeltent last night.

I was at the Entertainment Quarter for the “VIP Opening Night” of “Rouge”, described as “a non-stop celebration of the astonishing, surprising, provocative and supremely sexy: award-winning Australian circus”.

Having attended numerous VIP opening nights in the past, this one stood out immediately: the absence of any familiar celebrity faces. And the lack of free drinks and canapes. Deciding to engage with the mostly 20-something crowd gathering outside, I approached a group and, after securing their permission to hold my place in the queue, struck up a conversation.

They were very kind, and recognising my disability, asked if they could help in any way. I like that – not can we get you a chair – but asking me what help I might need. Within the group, I encountered a person I would describe as “gender fluid,” confidently walking with a stick. Our eyes exchanged a sense of acknowledgment, recognising common connections in both gender/sexuality and disability. However, my excitement was short-lived when I overheard someone mentioning that it was the “final night” of the show. A quick check of my ticket revealed my embarrassing mistake—I had arrived a week early, having misentered the date in my calendar.

Rogue at Sydney Spiegeltent

Reflecting on the day, I had earlier messaged my friend who was meant to accompany me, only to learn she was at the airport en route to Adelaide. Chalking it up to her busy schedule, I dismissed it as a one-off occurrence—much like a previous incident when I showed up a day early for a dinner.

Though I felt a bit stupid at the time, I was reassured by another friend who, mentioning her husband said, “Now I can tell Ross it’s not just me”. #notaseniorsmoment

Despite being all dressed up with nowhere to go, I contemplated staying at the Entertainment Quarter for a drink and a bite to eat. However, the noise and crowd proved overwhelming, prompting a change of plans. I opted for a taxi ride to Taylor Square, exploring the venues along Oxford Street.

Yes, it’s quite casual for a VIP Opening Night, but I thought it was nice and colourful nonetheless. In the taxi, headed to Oxford Street.

Though it’s often said by older people that younger people are glued permanently to their mobile phones, it wasn’t much better at venues there, where I saw table-loads of 50-somethings doing exactly the same. Though I understand why you might check your mobile when you’re out with friends, to order a taxi, or check a calendar entry, or to show them some photographs, I don’t understand it when I see groups of friends out together, all of them looking constantly at their mobile phones. It’s as if they’re saying to their friends, “You’re boring, my phone is more interesting”.

Luckily, I’d taken my “Diabetes Kit” with me, so I rounded off the night with a meal at a Mexican restaurant on Crown Street.

My sugar levels were good last night, but when I woke this morning they were low. Very low. Throughout the day I’ve been fairly sick. In the same way I was several weeks ago, feeling fatigue, light-headed and vomiting, due to the diabetes. Thankfully, my neighbour was able to help with a visit to the chemist, as I was worried about leaving home. Tonight my sugar levels are high, much higher than I would like them to be, so I’m doing a few things I know will help, including a bit of exercise and drinking lots of water. Hopefully, by morning things will be better. I’m already feeling much better than I have for most of the day.

I really want to feel better, as I have a busy week coming up. I go to work on three days. I have visits by my physiotherapist, my cleaner, and my support worker. I also have a few night-time excursions, including two visits to the State Library: one is a talk featuring, amongst others the journalist Peter Greste, and other is the 100th Birthday Party for ABC Radio Sydney. And then on the weekend, I’m meeting a bloke I have chatted to on a disability Facebook group (he has cerebral palsy), I’m catching up with some friends for lunch, and DEFINITELY next Sunday night, I’m going to a “VIP opening night”.

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