To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself. – Soren Kierkegaard
Day Seven – Music and Mayhem
As I relate these tales, I feel foolish. I feel foolish becoming excited over the smallest things. I feel foolish looking at the rewards I gained for the risks I’ve taken and realizing this is what everyone has been talking about all these years.
I’ve become accustomed to going to restaurants and movies by myself. My friends are far flung, busy, or not interested in the same things as I am, so arranging minor get togethers is difficult. I am able to do these things because I go to the same places over and over. Familiarity is comfort to me. Mind you, I also go during off hours. I don’t want to be the guy sitting alone at a table. I also tend to go to pubs where I can sit at the bar. It feels less conspicuous sitting at the bar. So when I walk into one of my preferred establishments and the bar is filled, I turn around and leave.
On Sunday nights one of my favorite places, The Grafton, has live Irish music. I do love Celtic music of all sorts. I’ve known about this since I moved into the neighborhood four years ago and have never bothered going because it tends to be crowded. I had no proper excuse not to go this time. I walked in, found a place at the bar, ordered up a Magners and did some reading and writing (which is my normal modus operandi when I go out). The musicians filed in and began playing and it was sublime. During the second hour a small older gentleman came in, sat down a stool away from me and ordered a Guinness while he listened to the music. Suddenly he spilled his drink. A great wave of Guinness came rushing down the bar. Luckily my notebook and cellphone were out of the way but he felt awful. I launched into a story about a recent date I had where I flung a glass of red wine on my date and that accidents like this happened. This spurred the bartender to relate a story about how she did a similar thing to the owner of the bar. We had a good laugh together and he insisted on buying me a drink.
We chatted a bit and I discovered he is an artist, from France, living in Chicago for the past fifteen years. Additionally he loves Irish music and Guinness. Truly a fascinating man.
The lesson in this happens to be really simple and one I already knew but obviously need to have it hammered home in my head over and over. If I want to have interesting stories to tell, if I want to meet interesting people, I need to be out and about among them. Consider the horrifying date I had where I splashed the wine on her. I was mortified. What good could possibly come from that event? Yet, when this moment happened, I was able to use it to diffuse someone else’s embarrasment and open up a conversation where another shared a similar story. It almost felt like kismet. No, don’t worry, I’m not going to go all mystical in regards to this, I just couldn’t help but to see this chain of events so clearly. The more interactions I have, the more interesting things happen, the more interesting things happen, the more options for initiating conversations I have, and the more conversations I have the more people I meet. A snowball cycle is created. The problem is when setbacks occur. The more interactions I have the greater the chance of something dire truly happening which would create a negative cycle. That is just my imagination getting the better of me. I seem to want to know about every obstacle before I get to it, solve everyone problem before it arises. If I may paraphrase a cliched quote, life is more about perspiration than preparation. There is very little that can’t be resolved through pure effort.