I ended up at a post-show meeting with one of the burlesque troupes after the last event I worked. I'm sure the actual contents of the meeting are ©®TM Sirlesque GmbH LLC and not to be shared, but it doesn't matter -- I don't even know why I was there. I'd just asked what was going on after the show, on the theory that if someone else knew who would serve me a cheeseburger at midnight on a Thursday I probably ought to follow them, and Ricky didn't so much ask me as tell me that I was coming back to HQ with the rest of them.

Ricky is intensely and intentionally very sharp about a third of the time. The other two-thirds, he is a mass of random impulses, which he tends to follow just in case they're one of the sharp ones and he hasn't noticed yet. He is too smart to stuff me into his hatchback and drive me anywhere he doesn't want me to be, but why he made that decision is a mystery. Ricky does not explain these things, even on the odd occasion where he can.

This sort of thing always makes me very anxious. I'm perfectly good at being part of a group. I'm loyal, I pay attention, I'm protective, and I can work in concert with others for the good of something larger than myself. I'm just not very good at belonging. I have no idea how it's supposed to come about. Most people have the experience of belonging to their family as a basis for comparison, but I don't; I never felt like I fit, and in my twenties I got to the point of outright telling my parents that I had no interest in being a part of that clusterfuck, and I meant it. I hated the place where I grew up, I have never had any school spirit, and I am totally uninterested in any form of team sports. I joined the the French Club in high school, but it was mainly an excuse for us to sell croissants pretend it was impressive enough to put on a résumé. I had an even briefer stint in the Drama Club, where I discovered I was not nearly as melodramatic, troubled, obsessed with fame, or good at nepotism as I would have needed to be to truly fit in.

It took me entirely by surprise when the Marathon Bombings prompted me to think that nobody could do that to my city, but that isn't quite the same thing. I don't belong personally to the other denizens of Boston. I just like the way they run things here, with the ancient subway trolleys and caterwampus roads and all the green space, and would be very upset if anyone made me give it up.

The usual suggestion is 'go take a beginner class in something' doesn't really work. I don't cope well with the standard style of low-level pedagogy. The frustration of trying to learn something from an instructor working at cross-purposes to my own brain overrides any fun I might have otherwise had. I can learn it all right, but I do it locked in a room by myself. I'm not one of the spinners or circus hoopers; I'm just someone who goes and plays with hoops and props in the studio a couple times a week.

I'm not one of the dancers, either. I just hand out programs and run their merchandise table.

I am forever wary of letting my brain assign too much meaning to the random things that happen in life, so the answer is probably somewhere around the intersection of best intentions and least significance. I expect Ricky thought pouring a few drinks into me would be a nice thank you for working their show, and there weren't any objections. I'm sure nobody noticed I was vaguely confused, because not knowing what's going on or what I'm meant to be doing has never, ever stopped me from talking, and this time was no exception.

I also expect that if any of the Sirs are reading this, they're facepalming hard enough to leave marks and wondering how something so clear on their end -- whatever it was -- got so muddled by my screwball brain. Sorry, guys.


  1. Communication is a two-way street - and the people communicating need to make sure their message gets across. This means you don't just broadcast, and hope there is reception on the other end.

    You are the new person - and no one made an effort to make sure you were tuned it. I hope it's just because these people are young, and still haven't gotten their sh*t together. Sometimes it's because they're afraid to broadcast unambiguously - you might then know what they're thinking!

    I hope it gets better. It usually does when you know a group better.


    1. It isn't their fault. They're assuming I operate like a normal person, mainly because I make an effort to pretend that this is the case. I don't. I have to deduce what most people "know" through a sort of blind instinct, and often I just don't have enough data to come to an unambiguous conclusion with that method.

      I've been told that I'm an idiot, albeit indirectly and probably inadvertently. Dex scolded me for not being at their last cast party -- it's a bit surreal to have someone take you to task by saying 'I was totally making out with one of the other guys, where the hell were you?', let me tell ya -- which was the first time anyone had bothered letting me know that I was invited to the things. I had to point out that I had previously been turning up to events only when someone had remembered to tell me I was expected; since it wasn't always the same one, they were apparently collectively unaware that I don't just wander in and out of their house as I please.


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