Party! Party!

Posted by admin on July 24, 2017 in Randomalities |

I am hardly the life of the party. Now, anyone who knows me may argue that fact because I do know how to party. And often times, I have been just a lampshade shy of being the party itself.

But given the life I lead, I can also be a real wallflower. Yes, dress me up in pirate gear and Hurricane is the center of attention. But dress that same guy up in a pair of jeans and a Hawaiian shirt, and he can be a real dud, unless plied with copious amounts of wine.

There are two really good reasons for this. The first, I’ve known for years. Deep down, I am shy, very shy in fact. I find it hard to make conversation with people. I’m not very good at meeting new people or remembering names. So, I just sit in a corner, nurse a drink, and watch the partiers roll by.

This offers great fodder for being a writer, by the way. This talent for observing is the reason why so many familiar people are in my Brewster McCabe sagas. I notice stuff, stuff that eventually finds it way into fiction, or in the case of my Memoirs of a Buccaneer, non-fiction.

One character I should write about and never do is the party wallflower. It should be really easy too since that’s what I tend to be.

Oh sure, I used to fake my way through a party, pretending to be in the moment, laughing at other people’s obscure jokes about people I don’t know or places I didn’t work. I mastered the friendly handshake and “nice to know you” nod. But eventually, I would retreat, sinking into a comfortable seat as far in a corner as I could find.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that I stumbled onto the other reason for this shyness. It’s a reluctance to talk about myself. It’s not that I’m not somewhat interesting. But I’m not really any more interesting than anyone else.

But I am reluctant to talk about myself because my interests simply don’t jibe with others who want to make casual conversation. I’m not really into the latest bands or movies. I don’t camp. I don’t go to concerts much. I am definitely not the trendy bar type. I’m not into hot cars, I think pho is outright stupid as a meal solution and I don’t live on my smart phone.

Well, there goes my being topical.

The life of a creative is often a lonely one, if not an isolated one. I don’t have a lot of friends, in part because I don’t do any of the other things people do. And I’m definitely not one to hang around with the creative crowd because I am constantly afraid that I will go all Tourettes on someone at a poetry reading, telling them their work is total crap and that they should just kill themselves.

I guess you can be grateful I never got that job at Suicide Hotline.

I suppose it would be easier if I was more traditional in my creative pursuits. Yes, I sing and play music in a band. But mostly we are dressed up as pirates and instead of booking gigs in bars, we just roll in, instruments in hand and inevitably someone asks us to play.

The pirate thing alone is a real conversation killer. It definitely is a second date killer. “So what do you do for fun, Robb?” she would say. “I’m a pirate,” I would reply, which then required 20 more sentences to explain and even then her eyes would glaze over as her head kept nodding feigned interest.

Let’s just leave those two things off the table. Let’s see. I could talk about my art, but then I’d have to explain why I still have a drawer full of lady’s pantyhose containers they haven’t made since the 1980s. For the longest time, I didn’t even think of this as art, let alone art that used repurposed stuff that would otherwise end up in a landfill. In the 1970s, I was just a dweeb. Today, I’m suddenly a visionary in upcycling and recycling. Go figure.

For the sake of argument, I don’t usually talk about my stint making art cars before anyone knew what an art car was. People nod politely, then I show them the tank I built from a 1962 Ford Galaxie to prove that I’m not making this stuff up. And if they really push me, I’ll show them the Super Car I helped build for Rainier Beer and their superhero Vat Man and sidekick, Choice Hops.

You’re starting to see why I head for the corner, right?

I could go on and on about the plays I’ve written and performed in, about the deck I’m designing for the house that is a replica of the Long Tom Barge used in “Peter Pan.” Or the cottage I designed and built in high school for Brigadoon, complete with a fire hazard of a roof made of real thatched straw.

Or the hydroplanes I used to make to pull behind bicycles. The ones with the actual model V-12 Allison in them. How about the Han Solo Blaster I made out of a plastic Mauser and a Kirby Vacuum Cleaner attachment? Or the freighter I built for the Milk Carton Boat Derby that had a helicopter on the back and smoke that poured from its smokestack?

You’re getting the idea, I’m sure. Being a creative is the E-ticket to peace and quiet at a party. A lot of people secretly think that you’d be interesting to talk to as you fold the beer label into an origami swan, but they just don’t want to open that can of worms.

It’s better to let the guy sit there alone than try to understand exactly what he does for a living or a hobby for that matter. It certainly kept my mother wondering for all her days. No wonder she never invited me to a party.

In the Emerald City, making stuff up… again!

  • Robb


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