Saturday, October 15, 2005

New friends

Just as I'm getting ready to leave town, I've started to make some friends here. We can't do much about the timing of random events, I suppose.

It all started last month when I caught the train to NYC for my sidewalk adventure with Jere. I ended up in amicable conversation with two guys sitting nearby, each of us traveling solo. One of them, Chris, said he lived in the same town as me. Chris is an easy-going sort; he's out for a good time, and he doesn't try to be anyone but himself. I really appreciate that in a person. Chris gave us beers from his backpack, and the three of us drank beer and chatted about whatever came to mind as the train chugged along to the city. The other guy, who's name has escaped me simply because I haven't heard from him since, got off somewhere in the Bronx, and Chris and I chattered right on to Grand Central. We exchanged numbers, and he told me where he could be found most of the time, a little dive bar not terribly far from my house.

A couple weeks ago I was feeling antsy. Maybe it was the balmy weather that itched me to get out and about. Monday night football was on, and since this little dive happened to be a sports bar, I decided to check it out. I hadn't heard from Chris at all, so I was just taking a chance that he might be there... I don't mind being by myself, but it's always nice to have people to talk to. I didn't see him right away, but when I sat down at the bar he stuck his head out a few chairs down and recognized me, and then introduced me to his two friends, both of whom he had mentioned on the train. One of those two was already not too fond of me, I'm pretty sure... unbenounced to me, he had already visited my blog and been offended by something I wrote, and frankly I should say rightfully so - but I shall address that some other day. He didn't say much but the rest of us had fun discussing this and that, mostly sports stuff, which as you know I do love to discuss. The bartender, also Chris, turned out to be pretty cool and Jay is more knowledgeable about sports than myself - something I can really appreciate, and Chris's father, also a Chris, showed up at the end of the night to bust his son's chops.

I've been back to the little hole a few times since, and have met some really nice people. Mostly guys - not too many chicks hang out in sketchy sports bars... Wonder why? I get hit on quite a bit, despite having made it pretty clear that I have a boyfriend. That's alright; I suppose a man's gotta give it a shot, anyway, and no one's been too aggressive about it. I'm sure the three Chris-es would be there to help me out if I ever had any REAL problems. I have no intention of cheating on my man, whom I am fairly serious with, and I keep things light and friendly. I buy my own drinks (best to keep it that way, I think) except for the occasional picked up by the bartender, and sometimes a shot or two from Chris. I must give props to both Chris and André, both of whose poker winnings I have benefited from in some small amount...These two are the sort who make a girl feel safe through their genuineness of spirit. Neither puts on an act nor creates an expectation; some people are just good - and that makes them good to be around.

One night I ended up smoking a bowl out back with a couple of people whom I had not even met, invited randomly because my oversized cardigan and don't-give-a-shit demeanor gave me up to be a stoner, I guess. Later on I ended up at the diner with Chris, chattin' over BLT's and cheese-fries with gravy. "You're kind of quiet tonight," Chris commented. I wasn't sure what he meant; I had certainly not been silent. "Well I am stoned..." I say to him. "Oh I don't mean it in a bad way, " I think is what he said. "You're just usually all over the place. Tonight you're actually staying on topic." He seemed a bit embarrassed after saying this, afraid he had hurt my feelings. On the contrary, I'm glad he said it.

I wasn't sure how to interpret it at first. I'm still not all that sure, but I've been chewing on it for awhile, and it's giving me some insight on a few other situations. I have very strong opinions, and also the strong urge to express them. I don't always (ahem, often) think about whether people want to hear it, or if the venue is appropriate. I don't mean to, but I'm sure I offend people with that, and chances are I do it a lot more often than I think. I guess I can understand why people might decide even if they like me that I'm best in small doses.

Funny how clearly I think when sober, and how clearly I express my thoughts, and yet...It's when I fuzz things up that I realize where that expression may be inappropriate. Here I've been thinking that it's good I haven't had any smoke lately, and now I check myself and realize that no- the self-reflection I gain from it can keep me in line, or at least help me realize when I'm off of it.

Also funny how you can struggle with understanding something your whole life, only to have it pointed out unknowingly by someone you've just met.


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