The little pub crawl that could
Work gracefully finished with a hope-filled and much needed phone call from a program partner for the workforce development program I’m currently engineering. Much needed after a rocky week of anticipation and long periods of waiting for people to respond to emails. I confirmed a meeting location with a coworker, and drove downtown.
I joined two coworkers and met a third on main street, and set off for an evening of adventure with two extroverts and a fellow introvert on a restaurant and pub crawl. 10 locations and 200 of us total comprised an event pulled together to benefit the local Arts Council. Samples from places I’ve visited and passed by passed my lips as we traversed from station to station.
As we went along, I saw acquaintances, family friends, friends of friends, and a professor from my teenage years when my ambitious self took community college classes instead of a 6th period of high school. We finished the night on the tail of our most extroverted colleague, and I found myself relating the past several years of life to this former philosophy professor, who amazingly remembered me and remarked that he’d held no doubts that something good would come from my life.
I receded into my internal world, reflecting on this experience and marveling at the fact that I’d even made it through this night. Talking to people is hard work. Is this what it’s like for people who go out every week? Have I come full circle to the point that I can converse with a former instructor as an equal? Why does it seem so hard to come out for things like this? Oh. That’s right. Because I spend more time working, reading, researching, and taking classes than I do actually talking to people.
My internal dialogue continued as my energy flagged. The presence of my verbacious companion inspired me to speak up more than normal, but even with his presence, my introverted self asserted the need to duck out before the morning hours came. Four hours of new faces mixed with the familiar ones drained me, yet it was a pleasant start to the weekend.
I awoke this morning with the vague sentiment that maybe there is hope in this city for me to meet new people whose company I enjoy. I’m still searching for conversation partners who have seen parts of the world I have not, who tell stories of adventure, and who can actually stand to listen to some of the technical details of what I do.
I greet people when they come to visit, and we catch up over coffee or a meal. But then they return to San Jose, Los Angeles, and the like, and I’m left wondering, if and when will I meet new people that could be potential friends, dates, and travel buddies? Must I move to a bigger city with a booming economy and higher average educational attainment level, or are there people hanging around here that would surprise me, if only I knew where to look?