Last Saturday night, Mr. Sticks reunited with his old band, a group of guys with whom he went to high school, to play a benefit for Hurricane Sandy. I used to love going to see this band. They just play covers and it's all music I grew up with. It was always fun to see everyone and see what's doin.' These are people I hung out with for years.
The guys in the band all got married around the same time and had kids and things sort of fizzled out. An occasional appearance here and there was about it. I decided I wanted to go to the benefit because they play so rarely and I started dredging up fond memories.
I lined up a babysitter a week in advance. The night of the benefit, I changed my mind and didn't want to go anymore. I decided I didn't feel like catching up with everyone. I realized I didn't really care to find out "what was doin." I didn't want to be standing in the crowd with a bunch of people hanging on each other and drinking and singing with the band.
So when the babysitter showed up, I went out to a speaker meeting.
I've given this a lot of thought. Am I turning into an old fart? No, it's not that. Am I anti-social? A little bit, but I've always been. I like being around people, but they can exhaust me after a while. (The alcohol helped with that). Am I no longer an avid people-watcher? Hmmm, maybe less than before. Do I now hate live music? No way! Am I afraid I'm going to drink? I want to say NO because I have no urge to drink. I know it's no longer an option for me...
But here's the thing. I've become more discerning about where and when I'm going to be around drinking. I started thinking earlier on Saturday, "What am I doing? Why am I going to this thing? It's going to be crowded. People are going to be drunk. I'm going to have to try to hear people talking to me over the loud music and I'm going to have to lean in toward them to hear and be heard. None of my close friends are going to this thing. It's going to be a night of superficial glad-handing. I was getting exhausted just thinking about it.
So I was temporarily torn between my expectations of how it could be (good music, reliving good old times) and my expectations of how it might actually be, which was too loud and too crowded. Drunk, I could tolerate that. Sober, uh, no.
So I decided not to go. It wasn't for me. I wrote it off, telling myself, "If they play an outdoor party this summer or a patio bar this summer, I'm there."
Discerning is good. I don't need to get greedy. I don't need to be constantly be in the thick of things all of the time. Hey, I'm a little obscure now.
And off I went to a Saturday night speaker meeting.