Monday, June 20, 2005

The Gala

Ever since the night of the Gala, things have been different.

I don't know, I guess I blossomed.

It had been six months in a new city and my circle of friends had not grown past AA meetings and the fellowship that followed. I was working on an assignment that brought me in and out of the Bronx every day and made me feel like I lived on the subway. I decided to step outside of my comfort zone. I attended a Gala at the Central Park Zoo and that is where I became enamored with a handome Australian man. His roomate's girlfriend invited me to her birthday party the following week. The Aussie turned out to be a dud, but the rest of the party had great potential. I met some strong women and, risking rejection, I started e-mailing them and trying to strike up some new friendships. It worked.

I started getting invited to barbecues, rooftop parties, dinners and dates.

But what was even better is that I started living.

I went wherever people invited me. I attended book readings, signed up for cooking and writing classess, planned get togethers-movies and girl's nights out. All of it meant an improvement in my social life and self esteem.

Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was a change in spirit... but I'm so glad that New York became a little smaller.

Last night, I invited some work friends and my sister to join me for dinner and a party I had been invited to by someone I met on Friendster. I was nervous. I had seen this guy perform at Upright Citizens Brigade, but never actually met him. We arrived at the party and immediately it seemed grim. My girlfriends and I climbed two flights of stairs breathing through our mouths to avoid the overpowering stench resembling dirty socks and a mens locker room after a big football game. The door opened and there he was. About 30 pounds heavier than his Friendster profile, but making up for it with flawless charm and wit. We were the first women at the party numbering 12. But we started mingling and within a few hours the night had shifted.

Flooding through the door came all my favorite New York Comedians. Each time the door opened I would hit my friend and whisper the movie or show in which I had seen the entrant perform. "He was in School of Rock," "She is on SNL", "That's the inconsiderate cell phone guy". And they were all just as funny in person.

A cocktail party full of improv actors is never dull. There certainly weren't many awkward silences.

The party filled up and flowed out onto the roof where there was barely room to stand. My friends loosened up and started flirting. My sister was being admired by the ex-boyfriend of a former reality TV star. The former reality TVer and I huddled in the corner and shared stories about the after like of reality TV. It was comforting to have someone to speak candidly with about the experience. As different as we were, we bonded over stories of extinguished fame and shout outs on the Subway.

Her ex-boyfriend was the most obnoxious person I had ever met.

Everything that came out of his mouth was socially awkward and offensive. Within the first five minutes of being introduced, he called me 'bitch', took photos of my breasts and made three racial slurs

One obnoxious man aside, the party was great and I met a few more interesting people to explore.

Rooftop parties, concerts, cooking classes and dance festivals... I guess I have the gala to thank for jump starting my social renewal.

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posted by Pop Culture Casualty @ 6/20/2005 12:40:00 AM |


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