If you've been looking forward to a cat-free post, here you go. (However, if you enjoy The Cat's adventures, when the new scratching post arrives there will be details.)
Earlier this week, I got a last-minute invitation from the weekly trivia host to join his team for an annual fundraiser to benefit his former parochial school. I said yes before I had all the details, because I like having an excuse to go out on a Friday night.
Issue #1: It was fifty-some bucks to register (upped because I was signing up late).
Oh well, it's for a good cause.
So I get there on Friday night, and when I go to sign in, I'm told my team is at Table 1.
You know, because they're the returning champions. Oops! I mean five-time champions. Consecutively.
Issue #2: Pressure. Lots of it. I was filling in for someone who had helped them win!?
Well, at least three people from my regular team were there, so I didn't feel completely awkward. But before they arrived, I didn't know anyone else from the team besides the captain. . . and the guy I'd met at the last benefit trivia (see #3 in that post). And of course the captain sat me next to him because we were the "music people."
Now, I don't think I ever gave an update after the whole situation where I was beating myself up for not being available at the pub post-game for that guy. Let's just say that I did ask around, and he did not get very favorable comments when it came to the dating department. I was told that on the rare occasions when he came to the pub to play trivia, he would bring dates that didn't exactly give everyone the warm fuzzies. I definitely was not his type.
So I didn't really give it much stock when I was seated next to him. I thought, Cool, we can chat or whatever. Just have fun. And it was, in the beginning.
Until he leaned over and said, "Since we're the only single people on the team, you've been assigned to take care of me."
When I raised an eyebrow, he added, "Oh, don't worry, it's not like you'll have to carry me out or anything."
I tried to play it off with amusement, like, "So this is what they do to the new people on the team?" but it really did not thrill me. There was alcohol at this event; was there really so much confidence on this team that it was O.K. to get beyond buzzed?
And honestly, as the game went on, he did drink more, and the more he drank, the damper his personality got. He was a drag. He made off-color jokes that I wouldn't make in mixed company if I didn't know them that well. I seriously wondered if he was stoned at one point, because he seemed just spaced out.
That was the beginning of Issue #3: Disappointment. Because in the middle of all that, the game was not going well. Apparently, the strategy that had served the team well in past years was failing. I knew it wasn't my fault, but I felt like a jinx in a way. I also felt bad that my friend the captain would be really sad if we lost.
The final nail in the coffin was the piece-of-cake music round at the end. Then I really felt useless. Much later I would realize I had given several helpful answers that had helped the team achieve a slightly-less-heartbreaking third place, but in the moment, I felt sad and frustrated.
You-know-who, who had been asking me during the game if I was having fun, which I had been. . . until we lost (oh and let me tell you, there was much cheering from the other two dozen teams that the champs went down). So in the middle of all that cheering, he kept asking me, "But did you have fun?" First time, I said yeah. Second time, yeah, I had a lot of fun.
Either I wasn't convincing (full disclosure: I don't have a poker face), or he was just out of it, or he was trying to be a nice guy and console me, but he asked again.
Finally, I said, "I totally had fun, but I don't like to lose, so I feel a little sad, too. I'm a Libra; we're complicated inside."
So yeah, I'm a competitive person and I'm sad when I lose (and sad for my teammates).
At least it gave me a reason not to go back to the pub for a post-game drink with you-know-who.
It sounds weird, but I still have faith that by going out and doing things that I enjoy, I'm bound to meet people, for friends or dating or whatever. I'm meeting people from all different backgrounds, but I don't feel out of place, because finally I'm not being made fun of for knowing something. In fact, my intellect is celebrated--the team captain has told others that I am a "music savant" and I am totally flattered and blushing over that. And loving it.
Except maybe when we lose.