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August 26th, 2013

The phenomenon of That One Guy

I was around dancing people Friday night.

After work I drove to a Hillsboro bar and met friends of mine, Vicki and Wilton. Wilton was playing drums and doing some singing in the bar band Drop Dead Red; Vicki was there visiting with her sister while listening to the band. I delivered a Trek in the Park "Trouble With Tribbles" T-shirt that I'd gotten for her, and sat while chair-dancing to fun music. Several other people danced.

Including That One Guy.

He was dancing. Sort of. But looking like he wasn't having fun at all. This set expression, not welcoming, a little shy of a scowl. Late middle-aged; heavy-set, a red shirt; those were details -- but the main sense was of going through the motions.

It felt like the wrong dancing for a rock/blues show.

I avoided making eye contact with the guy. It's like I was worried he'd infect me. Or that my face would ask the unspoken question/accusation Hey, man, what's your deal? ...and I was worried I'd stop having fun.

I've been That One Guy. I've never been a big party person. I can get self-conscious about it. (More than once -- not always, thank goodness -- I've stopped being self-conscious about it but then had someone make an issue of it so I'd get self-conscious again. Now I'm flashing on being at a wedding for the sister of a former roommate, a roommate I shouldn't have been roommates with, and said roommate seemed to get mad and embarrassed that I was having fun, that apparently I was making too big (too flamboyant?) a show of it. That it somehow reflected badly on him. Him...he had issues. But that's another story.)

I've been the one to suck the energy out of a room.

That One Guy in the red shirt had the potential to do the same. That I was thinking about him and the effect he was having on the room when I could've been thinking about the fun music (like another singer for the band, Teresa, and her damn nice rendition of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep") or the cute women -- and trust me, I'm very good at noticing cute women, to the point where I've had to tell myself Don't look at every cute woman you see as if she's the last cute woman you'll see -- in the bar, was the wrong use of my mindpower and energy.

Chair-dancing, which I kept doing, was a better use of my mindpower and energy. So was visiting with my friends and their family, as much as one can visit in a loud bar. I should've progressed from that, actually dance (on my feet!), gotten unself-conscious...and stayed unself-conscious, in a place where it likely would've been find to do so. Where it likely would've been safe.

Because while there are many ways to Get It Wrong, there are many ways to Get It Right.

Travels sans travails: my weekend

My weekend:

First, on Friday, I had bar time.

Then I slept in. First was useful by getting gas. Nearly 10 gallons. The most I've put in this car before this was about half a gallon more, so I wasn't quite on fumes, but close. Then I rested some more at home; last week? Long week. Plus I wanted to save energy...

...for my third trip to Trek in the Park's "The Trouble With Tribbles." Saturday I saw the penultimate (dramatic word, isn't it?) performance. Did a crap job of running into or visiting people in the crowd -- I know online friends of mine who I've seen in person before were in the audience, and I knew I was close to them, but I never found them. (I apologized online to them later.) Fun show, as I knew it'd be, with the added bonus of Portland's own nerd-folk duo The Doubleclicks playing a set after the show. Jesse Graff, Atomic Arts's Spock, joined them for a gag on their song with the line "I fell in love with a Spock impersonator..."; well played, you three. (I won't give away the gag.)

Home, eventually -- the bus can take a while -- then more rest. And a Sunday morning when I realized: I want to be around people, even if I'm not necessarily visiting them. Which I achieved by walking, first up to Goat Field again -- where the goats have been joined, inexplicably, by a chicken -- then up to the Superpod, where Big-Ass Sandwiches is. Said hi to one of the people in the cart -- the only one at the pod open at the time, but still getting a decent stream of people -- then sat down in the covered seating and read. (Lots of reading this weekend: alternating between my work-through, finally, of The Iliad and David Gerrold's autobiographical novel The Martian Child, about his adopted son. More walking (and another visit to watch the goats and chicken), then, eventually, home.

Then more social time, more than usual for me on Sundays: I drove to the Pearl District, next to downtown, and visited my departing friend Nance Cedar (who I met via Can't Stop the Serenity and Geek Trivia). She held a going-away party before she road-trips to Albuquerque. Then I drove to Beulahland to have a light dinner while yelling at soccer, then grinning at music videos (Beulahland has "Eye Candy," a compilation of music videos, every Sunday night). Then home once more, to have dreams related to Atomic Arts as I wonder what they'll be up to now that Trek in the Park is over.