Alone in a New City — Saga #7: Me, Myself and Meetup

I put my social calendar in the hands of meet up this week and it did not disappoint. Picture me, the over enthusiastic colleague that roles up to a well-oiled comradery yet still infiltrates it superbly. That was me at happy hour at an art museum. Face eager and having one of those evenings where I am, as Tove Lo describes it, “charming as fuck.”

I was hype, I always like a good mid-week happy hour. This was perfect. Admission was free and drinks were reasonably priced.

I emailed the organizer of this meet-up prior to leaving to Chicago to say I am looking forward to joining. I asked her opinion of where I might start as a new explorer of Houston. Her essay response let me know we were going to be friends. Well really that I would transition smoothly with little lapse in doing the kind of things I enjoy like being in the midst of art.

The music and food trucks at the museum were on point. The museum was … well see, you have to understand that Trip Advisor ranked the Art Institute of Chicago the number #1 Museum in the world. So the competition is fierce. But comparisons can be dangerous, so let me stay on track.

What I immediately like about this meetup is that we do both the mingling and drinking thing as well as the art appreciation thing well. Each of us disburse and find ourselves engaging with the art that piques our respective interests. Great! At this point I’m celebrating my non-small talk freedom and reading up on the Caravaggisti. It is a quick museum visit as they are about to close and our talking portion of the evening weighed a bit more heavily than viewing. I will be back.

The next meet-up with this group was Saturday night at a theater to see multiple plays by playwrights within one evening. Cost $10. I’m in. I was less outwardly enthusiastic this time. It takes energy that I don’t naturally have. Whereas before, I rejected handshakes going straight for the hugs. This time, I resorted back to my personal space is supreme stance. Unfortunately, I had already set a precedent.

One of the men I had met at the last meet-up was all smiles and went in for the hug, I did this awkward spin thing so we didn’t have to embrace. I did not have a good explanation for it other than, we are cool now, no need for hugs. It made sense to me, although in reality perhaps the cooler you are, the more you would hug. Look, I DID NOT WANT TO HUG HIM. I’m going to be honest, I was thinking damn how am I going to get out of this hug thing, as I was driving up to the theater. I could tell that this guy was somewhat, I’ll say, taken by me at the first meet up and I did not feel the same towards him. I figured that he would take me up on my friendliness and go for the hug. I cursed myself for being too extra with the hugs last time.

When people don’t pay attention to verbal and physical cues I get irritated. I was getting irritated with him because he seemed persistent to want that damn hug, at this point, I’m thinking get the fuck away from me and I kept twirling under his arm when he went in for one, I kept saying no need we are cool now. I am two seconds away from saying, “I don’t want to hug you” when he gives up. Another man, in the meet-up walks up to me during the tail end of this. As I am getting my bearings he goes in for the hug. I open my mouth to speak, but it was too late. It happened.

The other guy just looked at me and shakes his head. As I try to explain to the guy who hugged me, that there is no need for hugs, the hug-less guy keeps interrupting like “no, no, no” as if to say I’m bogus and don’t believe what she is trying to tell you. I stop trying to explain myself, as this man really felt the need to say what was on his mind. Call it what you want. Guy #2 was more attractive and smelled nice. Life ain’t fair.

The plays in the program were varied ranging from cannibalism to wedding proposals to feminism all in 10–15 minute pieces. I was excited to see how this evening was going to play out. #Puns By the way, these were performed as dramatic readings also called staged readings. The actors simply read off a script. Well, they tried not to have their eyes glued to the pages, let us say it was 35% memorized. I had experienced this back at home and thoroughly enjoyed my experience, this evening was no different. The actors are good enough to bring life to the work even without much staging. For those of us who are on budgets, art doesn’t have to be expensive. I leave the evening all smiles. I sure know how to pick ’em (meetups).

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