The Circuit’s recent comp and aftermath

The Circuit (local bouldering gym) had a comp here last Saturday. I got there late but managed to get a walk in registration. It was a blast being there rooting for my friends—my friends Juan and Todd took 10th and 16th, respectively, in the Men’s Advanced category, while Marie nailed 3rd in the Women’s Advanced. Good job, guys!

Registration got you a meal ticket for some teriyaki chicken—mediocre in both quality and size, especially after a bunch of climbing and riding my bike around all day. After watching the finals (definitely felt like the women’s finals were more interesting than the men’s!) I was pretty hungry, but I wanted to hang around for the afterparty so wound up attempting to solve that problem with beer. I realized later that some awesome burrito truck had pulled up right in front of the gym, but sadly, buzzed Toby was not together enough to wonder where everybody was getting those burritos.

I wound up chatting up this girl (Girl) I’d met briefly earlier in the night; had a pretty good conversation going when her friends (the girl friend I’ll call Friend, the will be… uh, Guy Friend) started to make motions to leave. They asked me what I was up to:

“Well, I might go to Smith tomorrow, but I’d have to get up super early if I do. Gotta decide if I want to do that or stay out and party.”

“You should party! We’re going to a charity shindig down in SE. Want to come?”

On a whim I decide to go with them–Girl is really cute and we seemed to be hitting it off. 60th and Division. Definitely not biking there. Better hitch a ride.

Friend drives, and following an impromptu four-part jam session to a Queen song in the car, we head into the party.

First things first: I stuff some bills in the donation box for the charity du jour, and grab some cider and bourbon. Then I notice a bunch of Christmas cookies! Still hungry, I chow down on one before noticing the sign:

“Vegan Weed Cookies: take one and go from there”

No big deal, I love weed cookies, although it has been a little while. Whatever, I’ll eat another half of one. I’m fuckin’ hungry! Returning to the group I realize a few things:

  1. The girl I’m trying to flirt with is either so shy or disinterested that she has become nonvocal around me. Like, literally won’t say a word.
  2. I don’t know anyone at this party.
  3. I wasn’t invited here by Girl—I was invited here by Friend, who gamely suggests that Girl and I should dance together. Girl simply shakes her head and continues dancing in place next to stationary and immobile Friend.

Ok, Girl isn’t into me, or isn’t into being hit on, or whatever. No big deal—regardless of that, Girl, Friend, and the Guy Friend all seem like rad people, and there’s some decent music at the party, so I’m gonna make the best of it with my favorite kind of dancing: in a crowd large enough that nobody is paying attention to you.

After a while dancing in a crowd of people who mostly seem to know each other, I start to feel pretty awkward. I get my shit together and get ready to leave; as a hail mary I decide to give Girl my phone number before I head out. As she goes to get her phone, somebody shouts “LIMBO,” she squeals, and disappears. After waiting for a few minutes holding all my bike shit, I decide she isn’t coming back, and, more awkward than ever, I walk out.

The cold hits me and I realize the reason for my awkwardness: those pot cookies are really fucking strong. I also realize that, when you call a cab from the middle of nowhere, it doesn’t arrive instantly. I wait for 10 minutes, then 15, then call the cab company back. They tell me I’m next in line. Another fifteen minutes pass, and in my haze it feels like an hour, and I call them once more.

“You’re second in line for that area, sir.”

“Second?! I was first a quarter hour ago! I’m gonna need to start doing jumping jacks so I don’t die of exposure!”

“There just aren’t that many cabs in the area.”

“ Look, I’m 15 miles from home, it’s the middle of the night, I’ve got money. Who do I call to get me home?”

At this point a guy in an SUV parked across the street comes over and offers me a ride into downtown. Seems like a nice guy, I thank him effusively, and hop into the car… which is filled with clothing, back to front. His girlfriend is up front but this is odd because she seems much older than him and he seems gay. They’re listening to some kind of weird ephemeral music that reminds me of a cross between Yanni and Enya. And then I see a chest of drawers in the back, and realize that this guy is moving out of his apartment. At two in the morning.

For some reason the first thing that pops into my head is The Silence Of The Lambs. Every muscle in my body is taut for the entire ride into downtown, and my mind races. The cookies are hitting me full-fucking-bore and these people are going to take me to their home full of weird antique furniture and lock me in the basement. I am sure of it.

The guy driving starts telling me the reason he’s moving out in the middle of the night—he lived with his mother, and she just passed. He received an eviction notice the next day and is in the process of getting their collective stuff into a storage unit while he figures things out.

Of course, in my paranoia, all I can think is “This guy lived with his mom and he’s basically dating his mom and by the end of the night he’s going to be wearing my goddamn skin.”

When we hit downtown he offers to give me a ride to my place if I’ll chip in a little for gas. Thankfully I stuffed the last of my cash into the donation box at the party, so I thank him and decline and sprint down towards Broadway to flag down a cab. The cab driver looked like Santa Claus and believe me the uneventful cab ride back to my bed that night was a wonderful present.

*****

Note: despite my drug-addled characterizations, everyone I met that night was really friendly and cool. It occurred to me the next day that it might be a little intimidating if you’re politely flirting with a guy and he suddenly, and not at your suggestion, becomes part of your evening plans. So if you’re out there folks: sorry for being a weirdo! Hope you had a good night!

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