The Lone Stranger
So last night I was invited by a friend of mine to go to some birthday party at some bar in the city. We head on in and the place is pretty crowded with birthday party people. My friend introduces me to the birthday girl and a couple other people and then he starts in on some conversation. For a while I did the awkward 'friend' hover looking for an opportunity to jump in. But the conversation was too familiar with stuff I was unfamiliar with. So I wandered off on my own in the bar.
There something weird about being alone in a crowded bar or at a party. At first I didn't mind. I stood up against a wall and watched the people in the bar. How people interact. Noticed funky glasses east village girl taking pictures with a polaroid camera. Happy couple at the bar being all flirty. Two blondes in the corner sharing secrets and pointing at someone. Some guy with one of those fedora hats and thin tie. A sergeant in the hipster army. I was sort of enjoying myself. I like looking at faces. I like seeing expressions.
Then I decided to try and see if I could read lips. But it turns out lip reading is really sort of difficult and I gave up on that pretty fast. Then I looked at the art on the wall. There was some picture of a dog biting some guys hand. It looked pretty cool. I thought about if I'd want that on my wall. And decided I wouldn't. I was just wandering around in my head in the bar. And was pretty happy to be comfortably poking around in my brain. But after ten minutes or so I started to feel self-conscious. I was standing in the same spot doing nothing for a while. I wondered if big bald gorks in bars standing against the wall staring around made people nervous. Like maybe I looked like a bald psycho picking out an unlucky victim or something.
So I decided to put the strangers in the bar (and my paranoia) at ease by proving I was a normal individual. I answered my non-ringing cellphone and pretended to talk to someone for a minute. The imaginary person on the other end was apparently very funny. It was hard to hear so I kept a finger in my ear. I told the non-person where I was and gave the address. Then I played the golf game I have on my cellphone hoping it was disguised as texting. Then I went through my wallet and rearranged the cards. Then I looked over at my friend. He was still jabbering away at people so I sipped my beer and thought of other activities. What else was there to do? I was out of ideas to look normal! I milked the phone thing! I did wallet rearrangement! Could I go with taking a key off my key ring then putting it back on again? Is that something to do? To show everyone that I'm not just alone doing absolutely nothing except thinking about murder techniques.
But then I caught myself. What was I doing? Why was I busy trying to prove to absolute strangers that I... umm... did actually have people to talk to... somewhere else... And that I could think of things to do if I want to? Was that what I was doing? Why?! I put my phone away and sipped my beer and went back to what was interesting to me. Staring around and looking at faces and playing in my head.
And not being mental thinking what people must thinking about me just.... thinking.