Well, here we are, Gentle Reader – 2014. Just two days in, and I’ve already started working on my list of things outside my comfort zone – well, honestly, I started working on it on New Year’s Eve. Because I have to go to twelve street fairs and festivals over the next year, I thought I’d start the second that clock ticked over.
While First Night’s been a tradition in Tacoma for over twenty years, I’d never gotten around to going before. I love the arts, and I love that people celebrate them, but I find that “family friendly” events tend to actually be “events for children where single adults look super creepy.”
As I don’t like to think of myself as super creepy, I’ve given it a miss in the past. My decision to go was very last-minute – I reached out to the Internet for a ride home and/or crash space, and had a number of offers. I hitched a ride into town and got supper with the Colonel and his lady, then took the tram downtown.
I wasn’t exactly sure where First Night was, but I knew the museums were somehow involved, so I traipsed around the district a bit. No dice, but my friend Rick was hosting Karaoke at a temporary ice rink. The kid renting out skates saw my uke and insisted that I play for him, so I tried to – but Chordelia was out of sorts, or something, because even tuned she sounded off.
In the distance, I heard a rock band warming up and a siren; I followed the noise.
I got a badge and a map, and decided which acts I wanted to catch, which groups I wanted to visit. There were multiple shows going on at any given time, but all the events at the earlier times – well, either I was in entirely the wrong area, or else they were running late. I went up to Rampart Antiques, where the owner – a friend of mine – was resplendent in vintage O.T.O. vestments. We talked shop for a bit – he showed me some beautiful dental equipment from the ’30’s, which had been re-enameled in the sixties with some sort of glittery amazement.
After that, I wandered up and down the streets, continuing to miss the acts I wanted to catch. It wasn’t raining, but a fine mist hung in the air; you could see it in the orange of the street lamps. I wanted to pack it in at that point, but it was still early, and I hadn’t really given First Night a chance. Luckily, I ran into Mx. Mattingly, who was looking for Adam the Alien, who – as always – was filming the local goings-on; he then accompanied me to see the Thoughts, an “orchestral folk duo” who I thought sounded promising.
Splendid. Adam’s cousin, who was with us, had sketched the duo during their set, and traded the picture for their CD. Afterwards, we split back up – lots of mingling to do. I caught a few more shows, ran into a few other friends, and finally headed to the Mix, where I was due to ring in the new year. Tried to make a new friend or two, but that doesn’t always pan out.
Using the powers of social media, I got some friends who I haven’t seen in a while to meet me there – including Miss Thrush and Auntie R. We toasted with the complimentary champagne, as one does, and caught up. Afterward, I caught a lift with Miss Thompson, my roommate, and some of us went to Mx. Mattingly’s apartment, where this happened.
Conclusions: Well, I’m still local, so reaching out to the Internet probably worked because I have a network in place here. Still, it was gratifying how well it worked.
It’s helpful to have a place to go when I’m done with a festival. I don’t like hanging around too long at this sort of thing.
Sometimes, when you try to make friends with strangers, they are really snotty and want to pick a fight within minutes. It’s hard not to dwell on what they say, even though they don’t know what they’re talking about.