Last weekend I was trying to do some serious self-sabotage. Friday I was thinking about how I told myself I wasn’t going to waste this summer by isolating. I thought I was doing a good job. Every nice weather day I left the apartment for extended periods of time. Even during my hyper-anxiety stretch. Somehow I made myself do it. I have been seeing my daughter regularly, which is most important. I’ve been communicating through text with the important people in my life mostly every day. I’ve been trying to express positive sentiments even when all my thoughts are negative.
I realized most of the time I’ve been spending outside, I’ve still been isolating. I’ve been going to the beach where there are tons of people but I just cruise by on my bike. I never see anyone for more than ten seconds and then they are out of my life. As if they were ever in it? All the hours I spent riding this summer may as well have been spent watching virtual tours of Hampton Beach on YouTube filmed by someone with a GoPro camera. Okay, maybe while pedaling a stationary bike for the exercise. And a sunlamp? You get the idea. I’ve been spinning my wheels.
This wasn’t a sudden epiphany. I already knew about a week ago. A couple of really nice days I made myself stop in the center of the main beach and sit on a bench long enough to sip down one of my 16 ounce bottles of water. I watched a game of beach volleyball. Those people were really professional for a casual activity. I think because I was looking so happy a few people walking by made some friendly comments and I replied. I’m pretty friendly. But that was the most of my interaction with strangers in the wild for a long time.
Back to Friday… It was about 6pm and I was boiling over! Again I’m home alone on the internet. My fucked up brain is still on the clock. I only went out during the day and had to do my morning routine and leave the house at a certain time so I would be back by a certain time. Whatever those arbitrary times may be. So I could get back home and do what? Exactly? It was still daylight for hours; there is no law I can’t go out after dark. Why did I need to be home? To google my symptoms and side effects? Doom scroll Twitter? The people I follow on WordPress settle down by noon Eastern Standard Time. I have to get off the fucking internet sometime!
Oh yeah, last Friday. I tried using the internet to get off the internet. I cranked up the Google machine and typed in “Things to do near me” All that came up was Yelp and Tripadvisor etc… Now places have to pay to be sponsored to get reviews. The same bullshit restaurants came up in every search. I’ve never been to them because I’ve never wanted to go to them. I forget how I found a few things that were actually close to me. My town sucks anyway but… One of them was the old Dog Track. They turned it into a Casino. It is only a mile from me, I could walk there in 15 minutes. I read some reviews. They had a few slot machines, watered down drinks and really pushed he off track betting. Then, why am I even thinking about this? I don’t gamble. I don’t even spend 1 dollar on the lottery.
I thought a good idea popped into my head. The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. It is a forum that holds about 2000 people. They mostly feature once famous, now washed up bands from the 80’s. I didn’t give a shit. I’ll go see Whitesnake, Tesla, Cinderella? I don’t give a fuck. I never liked any of them but the crowd would be my age. Let’s have a look at their website. Nobody! Friday night in peak season and nobody is on the schedule. The next best thing was Kenny Wayne Shepherd on Saturday. A day late and a dollar short! Sounds like a real country music name anyway. I YouTube’d him and he’s actually guitar driven blues/rock. Nothing to write home about but I guess? 50 bucks for a standing room only ticket way in the back. Never mind. I did stumble on something fortunate. Frank Turner is coming there October 10th and I will be making an effort to be there! 30$ a ticket and he is much more talented. I played him over the phone for my remote drinking buddy, Julie a few years ago when I was seriously in the weeds. She said, “He’s the Irish Bob Dylan!” He’s actually English and is described as acoustic punk rock. I think that fits.
Next I got karaoke in my head. I searched karaoke bars. Again, sponsored links to places I would never go. Still I looked a little further into them. (Backstory) In the past 20 years Hampton Beach has slowly changed from a collection of small dive restaurant/bars and dive hotels into a long stretch of huge condominium complexes and extra large bars. A lot of those old bars “conveniently burned to the ground and instead of rebuilding in the same spots that were rather profitable, they sold the land to the corporations and moved off the beach. Still nice places.
I said what the fuck, I gotta go somewhere. I’ll go to one of these big bars with live music or karaoke. I don’t know why I had that in my head. I have never gotten up to sing one song at karaoke. But I’ll watch people make asses out of themselves. Then I found you can’t just walk into one of these bars. You have to make an account at an online reservation service to book a table. What? I have to get out of the house more often,I guess. “Yes, I’d like a table for one, Here’s my credit card number.”
Okay, I called bullshit. I looked up places I knew in my town. There is Master McGrath’s next door to me. I haven’t been in there for five years since I went on my one month manic fueled I’ll buy drinks for everyone with my credit card! That place is fucked up. I didn’t even like it. It’s named after an Irish racing Greyhound. (The dog track) And it is a real Irish place. The owner gets shitfaced and plays Irish ballad on the tin whistle? Nobody goes there because the dumbass hard core locals scare off new customers. One Friday I went in around 6pm and there were two girls from out of town and they thought it was nice old style classic pub. Asking the bartender when the best times were. I left and came back at 9 when he said the best time. The two girls were still sitting there and they were surrounded by 4 drunk freaks. Putting their hands on them, rubbing their shoulders, stroking their hair. The girls were looking over to me save them but what was I going to do? Soon they left and so did I. Do you think they will ever come back again.
The best time I had there was when I took the place over. For some reason they had a crowd but they were quiet and depressed and listening to some dreary Irish music. I looked to the side and they had a state of the art jukebox with an internet connection. I handed the bartender a twenty and asked for a handful of singles. I funneled them into the slot and typed in the songs I would listen to at home. OMG! What a difference. The whole place brightened up. They are all talking, laughing, having a great time. Whenever a new song came on another person would perk up… “Who played this? I love this song!” It was always me. I made a lot of quick friends that night. It was the 2nd to last time I went in there. The last time is a longer story.
Back to Friday. McGraths’s had some entertainment. Karaoke with “DJ Dan”. I laughed. He’s been around the area longer than I have. He thinks he is a celebrity. I think he is another kind of asshole. I could only imagine 5 old guys requesting Irish folk songs and everyone singing along. Next! The only place left was “The Chop Shop” A biker bar I have never entered. What the hell? They are only 2 miles away. They have a website. Live bands every Friday and Saturday! Okay! What’s on tap tonight? A J.Geils’ tribute band? Seriously? I think I remember one song from when I was a kid. “Must have got lost” I don’t know? The picture of the band was hilarious. 5 guys older than me in sequined suits. I guess they weren’t a tribute to the young J.Geil?
That place was out of the question anyway. What am I going to do there? I would be the only guy not dressed head to toe in leather. It’s so funny because the only thing I can think of is Rob Halford of Judas Priest singing “Hell Bent for Leather.” and him in an interview saying how did anyone not figure out I am gay all these years. I’m a walking stereotype, have they not listened to any of the lyrics? I’m laughing now. You know the place is a sausage hang. The only broad there will be a few biker girlfriends. Then the rest would be wanna be bikers who thought buying a Harley would get them laid.
Then I figured it out. The thing all these places had in common was they served alcohol. I didn’t want to hang out with bikers or listen to middle aged drunks sing karaoke. I wanted to get shitfaced! I put a stop to my search. I was lucky I couldn’t find a suitable spot.
Saturday it poured rain as promised. At night I got the bright idea I would check out POF cause I gotta meet a woman. But that would not have been a good idea. I was leaning towards my old habits and I would need some beer and time to talk and I would still be living on the internet. So that went in the trash. I haven’t been on there since last, I think, November? For shits and giggles I did a forgot password with my email and signed in. Jesus H. Still all the same women from years ago. They don’t even bother to change their pictures. They all say they are looking for a serious relationship. It’s a fucking joke. They would probably think the same of me but I’m not looking for a serious relationship and the longest I can stand that place is for a week at a time. My account had been “hidden” but I permanently deleted it. Now what?
Sunday I woke up and remembered http://meetup.com No, it’s not a hook up site. It’s groups and activities for almost anything you could be interested in. I was signed up six years ago but the only thing I was interested in was being drunk. I signed up again and they give you a million different subjects and I clicked half a million just in case. They sign for a bunch of groups I will never join but I’m trying. I kept doing the search thing and one thing kept popping up but the group said it was miles away. I didn’t realize the event was at the beach. And, stupid me, I already knew about it. Every Wednesday, Hampton Beach has a live band outdoors and then a huge fireworks show. I love live music and I love fireworks. What the fuck have I been doing all summer? I checked the weather and it is going to be 85 degrees and no rain. You bet I will be there.
The next group they kept showing me was “Unaccompanied Single Adults”. Hey, that sounds like me. But it said Manchester, which is 30 miles away from me. But I caught it Monday morning. Their event is in Hampton Beach at the Ashworth Hotel. Saturday night. 70’s Dance party, come shake your booty with us 🙂 I don’t dance but it is the only event close to me. I clicked on it. It said 13 attending and 2 available spots. I didn’t understand why it was so limited and figured I would wait until later in the week to decide. I changed my mind and clicked I will attend. I can always back out later, right? I got interested and started stalking who was going. It’s 12 women and 3 guys. I’m one of the guys! And the organizer, Ivan even wrote in the description, “HEY, WHERE ARE THE GUYS AT?” They show everyone’s pic and age and town. Everyone looked normal. More normal than me. They are just a few people who are looking for the same thing I am. Something to do but they don’t know what to do.
They give you a lot of info on the people. The first thing I noticed was the people who are attending joined the site in the past week and it was the first thing they were doing. Then, this dude Ivan, just created this group a week ago and this is the first event! He’s a freaking genius! He’s got 12 single women around the same age, with the same interests ready to drive for miles to dance the night away! He specifically asked for more guys. I’m a guy. I’m there!
It turns out I was lucky I clicked, “attending” Monday morning because there are no more spots left. Now they send me emails when someone comments on the site. One woman said she had to cancel and an hour later this Indian dude filled in. Still at max capacity and still 3 to 1 woman to man ratio! That’s why I don’t gamble. I have better luck in real life!
I’m waffling because it is at a bar and I don’t dance. I can’t just walk in and sit down and drink. Which is a definite possibility. I’ve got all week to get prepared. But at this point I’m thinking summer is over and I have to do something in real life. Next week is Labor Day. The beach will be shutting down soon. I can’t waste the whole summer.