Sunlit Water

September 2, 2007

About Last Night

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 10:34 pm

Fall Crawl is the sort of thing that I usually don’t go to and regret not going to for a long time afterward, not because my few experiences going to such things have been particularly enjoyable but because not going means I will never know if I would have actually enjoyed it this time. To avoid that kind of obsessive second-guessing, and because it was just a few blocks away from my new apartment, this time I went. It’s not like I have anything else to do with my evenings, and there was at least an outside chance I would have either seen someone I knew there or even met some new people.

As soon as I arrived, I remembered why I usually choose to skip these things. Since I’m not crazy about either music or the bar scene, I felt very out of place at an event consisting entirely of music in bars. I had never heard of any of the bands playing and had never been to any of the bars they were playing in, so I was paralyzed with indecision as soon as I left the table in front of the Alibi office where I got my wristband. I walked up and down Central and Gold a few times, listening to the music emanating from the various venues and deciding not to bother finding out what it was. I stopped in at one bar for a few minutes, but I didn’t like the music much and was kind of uncomfortable with how dark and crowded it was, so I left.

After walking around a bit more, I decided to go to the ATM since I was a little short on cash. I don’t like to go to random ATMs and pay the ridiculous fees, so I set off for my bank, several blocks away. Soon after I started off, it started to lightly rain.

By the time I got to my bank, it was pouring. The main problem with heavy rain, in my experience, is that it makes it all to obvious to everyone who sees me just how long I’ve been wandering around with no particular destination. When it’s dry out, no one can tell.

After walking through the drive-through and getting some cash from the ATM, I set off back toward Central drenched and only getting wetter. I tried to walk under whatever shelter I could find, but there isn’t much in that area. Eventually I got to the Qwest building just south of Civic Plaza and sat down on a blessedly dry ledge under the big overhang of the building. I determined to sit there until either the rain let up a bit or I dried off a bit.

A few people passed by while I was sitting there, mostly darting under the overhang to avoid the rain for a spell but continuing to walk and going back into the downpour when they reached the end of the building. Then, when I had been sitting there for maybe twenty minutes, a man came by who didn’t pass by but instead headed straight toward me and sat down next to me.

He was middle-aged with a gray mustache and seemed to be either Hispanic or Indian. He had a slight accent which was hard to place. He was dressed nicely in jeans and a button-down shirt with a baseball cap on his head, but he was apparently homeless. He asked if I wanted a beer and when I looked at him quizzically pointed to a can ensconced in the right front pocket of his jeans. I politely declined. He said he had been sleeping nearby, with a blanket even, when he woke up and was soaking wet. He was very distressed about that and kept repeating that it was just no good. He also asked me if I had any cigarettes (probably the reason he came up to me in the first place) but wasn’t put out when I said I didn’t. We sat and talked for a while. He didn’t like how many crackheads there were around downtown.

After a few minutes several more people who were clearly homeless showed up under the overhang. They sat a few feet away and didn’t pay us any mind, but I began to get a little unnerved by the situation. Since the rain had let up a bit by that point, I said goodbye to my interlocutor and headed back down toward the Crawl.

I was pretty hungry at this point, so I went to a pizza place I like and had some pizza and a Fat Tire. While I was in there the rain stopped entirely and I dried off enough to look presentable, so I set off again and walked up and down Central and Gold a few more times, once again passing by various bars and deciding not to go in to them. I was walking up Fourth Street, en route to nowhere in particular, when I finally saw a familiar face.

He actually recognized me first, though only as my sister’s brother. He was her flamboyantly gay friend who had bartended at the party my parents had at the end of July. I barely knew him and had forgotten his name, which turned out to be okay because he had forgotten mine too.

It turned out he had been separated from his friends and was in much the state I was, alone and wondering why he was there. He asked if I wanted a beer. I did.

We went to the bar I had briefly been in earlier in the night. He bought me a pint of Skinny Dip and himself a shot of tequila. As soon as we ordered, he finally got a call back from his friends, so he asked if I could drink my beer as fast as he could drink his shot so we could go and meet them. I said I’d try.

I didn’t quite make it, but I did drink it awfully fast and it hit me pretty hard. We left and met his female friend who was waiting for us on Central, and we went to a bar where she knew the bartender and got some Heinekens and bottles of water for a steeply reduced price. We sat and watched the last couple of bands playing there, and their other friends eventually showed up and joined us.

Throughout this whole time my sister’s friend had been thanking me profusely for hanging out with him every couple of minutes and occasionally turning to me and gazing at me without even saying anything.  (You can probably see where this is going.)  I didn’t mind, because I was happy enough just to have someone to talk to; my night had been pretty bad until I met up with him, so I was grateful to him as well.

He finally made his move about halfway through the final band’s set.  He ran his hand up my arm and tried to hold my hand.  When I moved my hand away, he gave me a look that clearly said “well, how about it?”  I shook my head.

At the end of the song, when it was once again possible to converse without shouting, he apologized profusely, said he felt like a total jackass and asked if I would still be his friend.  I said no problem, no harm done and of course I would still be his friend.  A few minutes later he got up and left without saying a word.

When the band finished their set I went straight home and to bed.



  1. I’m always interested in what people feel comfortable doing (or even pushing themselves to do) alone. Recently I’ve been to three live performances, which I love, but I’ve never gone solo to a bar quiz-show night, for example.

    The funny flip side is the people who would like to do things alone, but don’t because they feel embarrassed. I have known some people who would avoid going to the movies or eating alone in a restaurant.

    Anyway, congratulations. It’s not easy to push yourself, and you manage to do it and to be compassionate to some of your fellow humans at the same time.

    Comment by Witt — September 3, 2007 @ 4:24 pm |Reply

  2. managed

    Comment by Witt — September 3, 2007 @ 4:25 pm |Reply

  3. Please, please never go to pub-quiz alone.

    Comment by Counterfly — September 3, 2007 @ 7:13 pm |Reply

  4. Why not?

    Comment by Witt — September 3, 2007 @ 7:39 pm |Reply

  5. I also think it’s interesting what people are willing to do alone. Personally I will do almost anything alone; I go to restaurants alone all the time, and while I don’t go to movies very often I don’t have any problem with going to one alone. I can’t stand the idea of going to a bar alone, though, which is part of why I felt so uncomfortable at Fall Crawl.

    Comment by teofilo — September 3, 2007 @ 7:45 pm |Reply

  6. It occurs to me that since you survived the terrible trauma of BEING RESPECTFULLY HIT ON BY A MAN, you might now credit women with the same ability. Then, you should respectfully hit on some of them.

    Comment by Megan — September 6, 2007 @ 3:06 pm |Reply

  7. Shockingly enough, that had in fact occurred to me. Now I just need to find some women.

    Comment by teofilo — September 6, 2007 @ 3:10 pm |Reply

  8. Go get ’em, tiger! Once you find them!

    Comment by Megan — September 6, 2007 @ 3:25 pm |Reply

  9. I’d like to endorse, even amplify Megan’s point, about turning around the understanding of what it means to be hit on. But your decency is not universal; you’ll still need a bit of armor, and your judgment of whether you acted properly cannot ever depend solely on the other’s reaction. While most will be as fine as she implies, some will be offended, or will respond with annoyance, revulsion, ostentatious avoidance. Their problem, not yours, but you have to gird yourself.

    I have been hit on by men, much as in your story. If I have ever been hit on by a woman, I don’t remember, it must have been very rare if ever. I’ve tried to be decent, which I think you were. Women have planted themselves, so to speak, and shown interest, a few times.

    Comment by Anonymous — September 10, 2007 @ 6:19 am |Reply

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