I’m home after the night out and still feeling a little jittery and amped up on adrenaline, so I’m going to write now rather than first thing in the morning. Anyway, it’s 2 a.m. and we want to get on the road fairly early in the morning, so this counts as Sunday writing. And I think it will help me wind down and head into the sleep I’m going to wish I’ve had by tomorrow.
Walking into a room where you technically know nearly everyone, but haven’t seen most of them in at least 15 years, is strange. I think it’s more difficult than walking into a room where you mostly don’t know anyone. Coz you know how it’s going to go (more or less) with people you don’t already know. You’ll make some small talk and maybe click or not, and if you’re not really clicking, you’ll drift onto the next group and talk to someone else. Certainly if you don’t get round to talking with any particular person, they’re not going to read anything into it or be offended.
When I walked in and scanned the room, I realised I knew 90% of the people there. But I had no idea of who remembered, recognised or cared for me. There were certainly people in the room that I didn’t particularly get on with at the time of our last interacting. There were others who I liked, but didn’t really know what their opinion of me was, or if they even had one.
And the party was partly hosted by my ex-fiance, and I’m pretty sure there’s no desire to rekindle anything beyond a courteous relationship there. Which is fine by me, but I’ve no idea how that translates when it comes to the transitive properties of friendship. I imagine some people have formed judgements of me because of that – which I can imagine would be really easy to do given my absence. I imagine some people will even have thought that they have to take sides, in something that’s not even a war anymore.
And I was doing it all sober too.
That was surprisingly un-difficult. The only time I was tempted to have a drink was when we sat down for our anniversary dinner in a Japanese restaurant earlier in the evening – and that was mainly because of thinking of “the complete package” rather than any desire to have an alcoholic drink, or any desire to change my mind-state to a less than sober one.
I drink a sparkle-water with a dash of lime cordial, and there wasn’t even a single question about what I was drinking. I’m sure many people assumed I was drinking some kind of vodka and lime or something, but I’m equally sure that most people weren’t paying any kind of attention to what I was drinking.
And sure, I felt awkward throughout conversations. There were stalls and stiltedness, and I wasn’t feeling some overwhelming connection or effusiveness about anyone or everyone. I’m pretty sure that being drunk would not have solved that problem. Walking into awkward situations are awkward. Trying to fast-forward past that awkwardness only results in a couple of different possible outcomes: either you make things more messy and awkward as your fast-forward engine stalls and it just doesn’t work, or, you make things more messy and awkward by acting inappropriately close to people who you don’t have a natural connection with.
As it transpires, I had a couple of lovely rekindlings with people who I wouldn’t have interacted with much beyond Facebook in the last 15 years. To the degree that I think I’d like to initiate a certain amount of future contact with them in the future.
Had I had the same conversations under the influence of alcohol, I don’t think I’d be able to trust those instincts in the cold light of day; I’d just assume that it was the overly effusive, super-connected “false” emotions of alcohol. And, what’s more, I’d end up feeling pretty embarrassed as I replayed the image of a self that I no longer felts much respect for in the following days.
Anyway, I’m finally getting sleepy now. I’m feeling pretty good for having gone, all raw and naked as I was, and experienced my actual life in a way that feels like it was pretty true. By that I mean, it was truly my experience, my life, which I own – complete with all the past it’s accumulated by this point.
I even went on the dance floor. 🙂