Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 209 - Socially Promiscuous

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Am I socially promiscuous? That is, do I intend to meet lots of people (at Jack's) at least once and then not talk to them again?

Yes. And no.

Yes, because there are always people I'll be introduced to by my bar friends that I'll likely never see again. I'm happy that I've re-met a good percentage of these met-only-one-time-before-people...say 30% or 40%...but most of them are people I won't meet again.

I'm also sometimes still hesitant to talk to people I've met before, so even if I see someone again that I sort of recognize I don't always have the courage to approach them (though I'm working on that).

No, because the set of people I know who go to Jack's regularly are people I always try to talk to if I'm sitting next to them or am within earshot. Even if it's just a handshake, that counts for something.


Today at Jack's there wasn't much to report. I had a fast beer and was out the door pretty quick.

Aimee did get sprayed by a recalcitrant beer keg that wasn't in the mood to cooperate. This meant there was no PBR on tap (bad keg + recalcitrant keg = fail), so it was tall cans from that point forward.

I got the last PBR on tap, now that I think about it. Anyway, Aimee cleaned up pretty fast and Travis was on hand to help set things right with the kegs.

Some guys to the left of where I sat at the bar looked to be big time soccer fans. One even more an Earthquakes jersey and both fellas were talking in a rather knowledgeable way about the English Premier League.

I hesitated only briefly before asking them what the difference was between the English Premier League and the Champions League.

You see there happened to be an exhibition soccer match on TV #1 that these two guys were watching. The game was between a US-based Major League Soccer team and a team from the British Premiere League and although the sound wasn't on the news-like ticker at the bottom of the screen kept scrolling news about something called the Champions League.

They were nice enough to explain that the Champions League would be like something designed to bring together the winner of the World Series in the States and the baseball champions from other countries (like Japan and possibly Cuba, etc...) for a final playoff.

In the case of the Champions League, it's comprised of teams from each of the major soccer leagues in Europe (like the English Premier League for Great Britain) who all play each other to determine who's the best in the region.

As the man to my left put it, "You know how we had the World Cup? Well this is like the European Cup".

There were several regulars in the bar but I didn't get to do much more than say hello and shake hands.

See you Thursday at Jack's!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 208 - Holding Your Own at Jack's (and an alcohol radiation factoid)

Alcohol is radioactive too—at least the kind we drink. Rubbing alcohol usually isn't, unless it was made organically—that is, from wood. In fact, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives tests wine, gin, whiskey, and vodka for radioactivity. A fifth of whiskey must emit at least 400 beta rays every minute or the drink is considered unfit for human consumption.

...from Physics For Future Presidents, by Richard A. Muller (W. W. Norton; New York, London; 2008)

A little factoid for you, Dear Reader. Something you can pigeonhole the resident science geek in your local bar (or wherever) in the event you need to knock him or her down a peg or two.

In other, non-radioactive news, today at the bar I practiced the art of keeping my space.

I also practiced the art of holding my own in a conversation.

Now if you know me at all then you know I'm a natural listener. You talk while I sit right next to you and listen intently; occasionally I'll nod my head in a sage-like manner indicating I understand what you're saying; I'll rarely interrupt when you're on a roll unless I really don't understand something; I mentally catalog as much as I can (that's interesting) for later use in the blog.

Truth is it's hard for me to keep focus when I do this. The art of not letting my mind wander towards worries or issues or whatever's on the back burner of my brain while someone is talking with (well, to) me at the bar is a skill I've been practicing, but haven't mastered.

Part of this stems from my habit of going to Jack's to turn my brain off; sometimes I just want to zone out even when others are trying to talk to me. Other times I want to interact with others, but am too afraid of offending them or otherwise working up the nerve to really talk with someone in a truly interactive way.

What I'm coming to realize is that actively concentration based on just listening to someone isn't best in a bar situation. Yes, you want to listen to them obviously, but that's only the half of it. You need to talk back and otherwise interact with someone since bar interactions are primarily conversations and not something like unto a student-teacher interaction.

My problem is, I think, that since I'm not actively chatting back at someone my brain uses up its remaining potential to ponder other things (even when I'm zoning out), which ultimately distracts me.

Today though I didn't wait to catch myself mentally strolling away from the conversation. And I didn't allow myself to get "cornered" when there were several empty seats at the center of the bar.

As soon as space freed up I moved one seat away from a bar buddy of mine. Gave myself a seat's worth of space either side of me. Right as I did it, it felt good to have that space.

When my bar buddy saw this, he half-seriously said "I'm slightly offended you moved over."

I just said, "Don't worry about it" in a tone that really meant just that. Then I told him I needed some space around me and went right back to the tall can of PBR Tanisha had served me when I came in earlier.

And it felt just fine to do that. With space on either side of me, I could opt to not face my bar buddy if I didn't want to during the conversation that was sure to come, even if he turned to face me and look right at me while talking. Plus I figured he'd not put his hand (specifically a few of his fingers) on me to emphasize a point as he's wont to do.

Not that long after I moved over one seat my bar buddy chatted me up (toldja he would...and I was wrong about him not trying to touch me to emphasize a point: he reached right over and did it anyway, but at least the touching was much less so than before + I didn't have to deal with alcohol breath and him leaning in too close).

During today's conversation I picked moments to cut in. Not rudely, but in a way that allowed me to follow my own thoughts by saying them out loud. I asked questions and steered the conversation to topics tangentially related to the main focus.

I never realized just how thoroughly I let myself get run over sometimes (conversationally speaking) at the bar. Some folks at the bar like my bar buddy—well meaning though they might be—will just mow right over you if you let them. Even if you try to cut in, they'll keep pushing forward by talking over you. My bar buddy knows this on some level, I think. As you can probably imagine it's not that hard to talk at me if you want.

As I was leaving (that's another thing I did: when my beer was done, I got up even though we were mid-conversation...normally I'd stick around to hear the end or even buy a courtesy beer and stay to chat longer, but not today) my bar buddy told me he really enjoyed our conversation. He usually says something like this anywyas, but today he sure sounded like he meant it.

Based off today's success I'm going to continue trying to walk into Jack's with a brain that's revved up and ready to go.

That makes for the best interactions with other people + let's me establish my "space" at the bar.  I feel more of an equal that way too. And that's a good feeling.

See you Wednesday at Jack's!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 207 - Did you miss me, Dear Reader?

I missed you. I hope you are well. In case we don't see each other here again soon, you can always find me on Facebook. There's a link here on the blog (lower left corner) that features my FB updates as I post them

Note I always post at least one update on FB per day is about Jack's.

Send me a friend invite. I can always use more friends (and so can you, I imagine).


The hardest part about today was that I couldn't even look at her for more than a few seconds.

I mean it was tough enough with Moe and Melissa there, but Katie is always too much for me to handle.

Being around her is like being 13 again. You're a pubescent teen in school and you realize there are girls in close proximity to you—even when they're halfway across the classroom (or in this case the bar) it's still enough to leave you panicky.

Someone like Katie catches your eye and you become completely unnerved and realize you don't know what to say to her. And even when you do know what to say you're self-critical of everything that comes out of your mouth as you're saying it.

Later, when you're at home, images of her play across your mind's eye while you're busy trying to get things done like homework, or in my case weeding and watering the garden. Or cooking dinner.

Figuring out how to talk to her is a challenge. One I haven't solved yet.

See you Tuesday at Jack's!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

It's been awhile, hasn't it?

Indeed, it has.

I started this post wanting to point out how the most beautiful women found at Jack's are on average to be found on a Monday night.

But now I find myself thinking about you.

How have you been, Dear Reader? Are you well?

More important: are you happy?

If not, what can I do to help?

Your happiness matters, after all. To me if nobody else.

And that's the truth.

I saw people at the bar tonight. A reggae night, it was.

Men and women...were they happy? Was Crystal happy letting that SOB off easy? Was Fallon happy with the man she walked in with?

P.McGee seemed happy.

And I admit, she made me happy just because she was there. Mercedes didn't hurt either. Nor Travis, Rina (on the bar) and Caitlin just as they are. Travis made it easy on me to show up tonight.

It's not always easy for me to arrive comfortable at the bar.

K.C. and G-Nyze were there and it was good. Ras Dank too, after a strategic wake up call from K.C. ;)

And now I'm wandering about in my own blog post, thinking more about all the people who made me feel good and not about you.

I hope you are well when you read this.

I hope good fortune comes your way.

I hope you sleep well.

I hope you find a better day.


edit: P. McGee said it right when she opined that it's hard for folks to have just one drink at Jack's. Take tonight, for example. ;)  Thanks Chriss for the shots, Travis for the beer and the shot (drank with Caitlin, that was a pleasure and a rare treat) and Chriss and Fallon for the further shot offers.

Tonight's lesson was all about learning to say no, that I might survive the second half of this year...and be able to perform in bed when called upon. ;) But mostly it's about surviving (and keeping my day job).

Take care, Dear Reader. Take care.

And if you can't sleep, download Pink Martini on your iTunes and listen to the album "Hang On Little Tomato".  Their song Let's Never Stop Falling In Love always gets me (and puts me to sleep, with nice starter dreams).

Sweet Dreams, then. See you at Jack's sometime in the future!