Nanny actually had to go back to the hospital again, but she’s back now. A lot of it had to do with stress relating to the ongoing issues concerning a certain estranged person, but I won’t go into details again. Like I was saying before, it’s as if we hit a perfect storm of potentially stressful events.
* * *
On Friday night I had a micro-party, which Catherine and _juju_ later saddled up to, and we had an excellent time. JuJu kindly took it upon himself to attempt to teach me how to meet girls, and he noticed a lot of the small things I do to defend myself unnecessarily, like when a girl was sat on a curb crying, JuJu told me to go up and see if there was anything I could do for her. Not a bad idea, but in order to make my approach as unobtrusive as possible, I came up as close as the parking signpost, leaned in from it and kept it between us as I asked her if she wanted me to call her a cab. I wasn’t even thinking about it at the time, but JuJu rightly laid into me about it as we walked on. It’s one of those unconscious things I do that keeps distance between myself and other people.
We went into the Dome, which is not a choice place for me to socialize, but - as I discovered with JuJu’s help - the reason why it is not my choice is not really because the music is too loud or it’s too much a meat market for me, or because of some other snobbish, stand-offish reason. No, it’s because my regular “reserved” tendencies are exacerbated and shamefully exposed in the nightclub environment. I’ve got literally nowhere to hide; I have to be socializing full-time. What a nightmare! But apparently this is what people do when they want to meet members of the opposite sex.
JuJu acted as my coach for the other night, and he really helped me nail down the idea of eye contact. I always avoid eye contact, because I don’t want to be caught looking. But he clued me in to the reality that it both 1) makes me seem antisocial (which is sometimes true, but I don’t need to be proactively giving away my misanthropy) and 2) makes me miss out on opportunities (apparently there are rules such as the “three-second rule” and that it’s not “staring” until they look back at you).
With these tools in appropriate use (all night I felt like I needed a big question-mark mounted on my head that flashed “CAUTION: Student Socializer.”), he tried to get me to ask certain other girls to dance. This didn’t happen very easily, because I hesitated. And then I would hesitate again. JuJu would ask, “Why can’t you?! Ask her now! Now!” Maybe it was fear of rejection that kept me rooted to the spot, that made me stop as soon as they began to look the other way. But as JuJu pointed out, “Those girls get asked to dance 40 times a night. They reject guys again and again. Nobody’s going to remember you here. There are no consequences.”
There was one particular girl I thought I almost had a chance with, and I thought she was cute, so I forced myself to move in, “Hi! What’s your name?”
I stupidly asked the first question that came into my tapioca-rich skull, “Is that ‘Stacey’ with an ‘e’?”
She assented and moved away with a bewildered, exasperated expression, turning her back to me in an astonishingly small amount of time.
JuJu asked, “Okay, what happened?” I told him. He backhanded his knuckles across my chest. I had to admit, it was pretty dumb.
At the end of the night we met up again with the group that Catherine had found a friend in, and we were talking about the night, and JuJu summed up the highlight: “He did talk to a girl!” Tyrone, one of the guys in this other group, kept saying, “Wow, I like that. Stacey with an ‘e’. Heh-heh.” Or something to that effect. And, said properly, it might make a good second line. So I told him how I thought (or rather, didn’t think) of saying that, which had me saying something like this: “Well, back in elementary school - it was Grade 3, I think - we had this exercise where we had to see if we knew how to write everyone else’s names. So I wrote them all down, and when I came to Stacey, I had written “Stacy.” And then Stacey said, derisively, ‘That’s “Stacey” with an “e,” but I’ll accept that.’”
Outside the club, JuJu pointed out the inappropriateness of the whole admission, “What were you doing?! You didn’t need to tell him your whole life story!” He was especially unimpressed that I begun an anecdote with “back in elementary school,” both for its lameness and its manifestation of the idea that I might not be wholly focused on the here-and-now requirements of the nightclub environment.
I could only dumbly reply that since he repeated how much he potentially liked “Stacey with an ‘e’,” I assumed that he would be interested in the ignominious origins of the phrase. JuJu just shook his head.
JuJu’s final piece of advice, as I was dropping him off:
“Just remember: When you’re in P.E.I., talk to people.”
“Oh, that’ll be easy! There’s a family reunion next weekend, and-”
“I mean people you don’t know.”
“Oh. That will be hard.”
* * *
The shuttle drive to Charlottetown was ridiculous - the van rode along at a speed that could still potentially be a lesiurely pace (120 km/h), but in the hands of a driver fond of sudden, jerky movements it was a bouncy, noisy ride. Even in the cities we would stomp on the gas, accelerate to a roar, squeeze past things in a manner I seldom see outside of Eastern Europe, then tromp down on the brake inches before the stop signs. I don’t know what the driver was trying to achieve with this - arriving at our stops 15 minutes early wasn’t doing anyone any good, as I seem to recall I spent that entire time outside of the Burger King in Charlottetown waiting for Uncle Shane to come and get me, while watiching other people wait with their own mountains of stuff.
Shane and his cousin Jessica came by and we drove back up to Brackley Point to visit with his American relatives up from Florida. Really nice folks. Then we stopped by the cemetary to tend to the family graves; in a touching moment, he left his father and brother golf balls and his baby brother (who was tragically killed at age 6) licorice, as “Colin’s too young to play golf.”
Naturally we stopped in Albion Cross later on, and then I took Grandma’s car up here to Souris. I went up to Basin Head with Uncle Shane, while he and Tyler swam, I took pictures, then I ran up the beach for exercise. It felt good to see my meter-and-some apart footfalls and the huge snowplow effect where I decided to stop (after only 2:20 of all-out running; I’m out of shape) and to hear the waves and feel the air, all while missing what would have been my first shift after the weekend (“Thank you for calling Sprint, together with Nextel...”)
Lastly we stopped at Red Point to check on his sister Patty’s campsite. A nice night for all.
I’m omitting any number of mundanities, because they are just that - also I’m discovering that time won’t wait for me to finish blogging. I’m not sure how many updates I’ll be able to crank out over the next few days - probably just the good ones! So we both win.