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Category Archives: introversion

Funk-Breaking with Katie Barbato

Well, here we are in March, with any February funkiness finally shrugged (even though the streets are still not quite cleared).

I have so much weekend to tell you about (Presenting at TrendCamp! Our first Arcati Crisis show of 2010! Another performance upcoming at Tin Angel!), but first I want to focus on my funk-breaking.

Even the cheeriest, most pro-active person (i.e., me, possibly you?) can fall prey to a crummy mood – where nothing we do seems to be worth doing. That was my February Funk.

Of course, funk is not exclusive to or contained within February. Nay, THE FUNK can capture you at any time of year. We’re just most susceptible when it’s dark and icy and we haven’t had a garbage collection for 16 days.

When you are me, and spend your spare time opening up your head and letting art out, THE FUNK is a pretty crippling condition. My internal editor is vicious enough already without any added incentive!

Luckily, I have the good fortune to be friends with many other people who have art inside of their heads, one of whom is Katie Barbato. Katie Barbato

I’ve blogged about Katie before. She is an outstanding songwriter, a typically flawless singer, and leader of The Sleepwells, one of my favorite local bands.

Katie, too, had fallen prey to THE FUNK, and invited me over to her apartment for a serious funk break-up session. There was fresh hummus, sugar cookies, a stunning view, and Katie and her amazing songs.

And calling it quits with THE FUNK.

Over several hours Katie and I curated our own special mashup of VH1 Storytellers and Rock Opera, following a narrative from the dumbest things we could do to contending with the apocalypse to the stories of what we had lost in 2009.

Sometimes I can be so insular in my shared songwriting space with Gina that I forget that there are others out there channeling their feelings into songs – and that their feelings can be pretty similar to my own.

Not only did Katie share feelings, but she shared some stunning tunes. A few familiar ones, as well as some brand new ones being birthed. Katie writes with such beautiful, intuitive voice-leading – it was a special treat to follow along from across the couch instead of from across the bar. I should have been jotting down the names of tunes as we went, because I came away with several new favorites.

By the time we made it to our last songs and I played the mated pair of “Shake It Off” and “Regenerate” their equal parts rage and resignation came hurtling through me so strongly that my whole body was trembling for minutes afterwards.

As I wrapped myself up for a walk home through twinkling flakes of snow, I realized that Katie and I had shaken off THE FUNK. It was replaced with the purpose and self-respect I had been missing.

Every day since then has been awesome. Thank you, Katie, for sharing your songs and having the sense to shake us out of THE FUNK!

Gentle readers, if you too find yourself mired in funkiness you should seek out the coolest person you have interests in common with and have them BREAK YOU OUT!

I have a bit more news about Ms. Barbato and The Sleepwells, but that will have to keep for another few days. Let’s just say, you’ll have a chance to see a version of our funk-breaking shtick for yourself very soon…

I #blamedrewscancer for being a Philebrity

I have a story to tell you.

I met half of the #blamedrewscancer crew at Fuzion at around seven for the Philadelphia Area New Media Association (PANMA) holiday party.

That is not the story.

We were at PANMA for some brief networking and catching up with friends, but our end destination was The Trocadero, where Philly blog fixture Philebrity was holding their non-denominational X-Mas party slash year end awards.

Blame Drew’s Cancer was up for the “Outstanding Do-Gooders of the Year” award. Polling had been open and transparent, so it was easy to see that we were getting creamed by Phillies’ Shane Victorino from day one. As such, we didn’t marshal much of a vote – eventually coming in fourth, behind even Mayor Nutter for his ballsy budget bluff.

The four of us – Britt, Mikey, Libby, and I (plus Libby’s awesome husband, another Peter) rolled in to the Troc fashionably late, and occupied the “Reserved” table closest to the stage. Our innate rowdiness took over shortly, and we were hooting at the house band (shout out to BC Camplight) and yelling “Hut!”at any reference to Lady Gaga.

Okay, maybe that was just me.

Suddenly, it was time for our award category. Philebrity Captain and one of my personal Journalist heroes Joe Sweeney read down the list of nominees. When he hit #bdc we cheered, the crowd cheered for us, and he continued down the list.

End of story? Not quite.

Joey Sweeney: So, Shane isn’t here tonight, so we’re going to give this award to Blame Drew’s Cancer.

Team Blame Drew’s Cancer: ???

No, he was not joking. Suddenly we’re being gestured at and motioned towards to the stage and then we’re on the stage and then I’m hugging Joey Sweeney and then, inevitably, I am standing in front of a microphone gaping at a rather large crowd seated at round tables all Golden Globes style and I am like, omg I think now they want me to talk.

Luckily, there is video to document my surprising coherent trip through award show aphasia:

(Take note of my neck-bobbing walk down the stairs, as it figures in to the next bit pretty heavily.) Continue reading ›

Make You Feel Real Blue

A few weeks ago Lindsay, Dante Bucci, and Bill McConney were playing a tiny living-room style show in a just-off-South coffee shop called Cafe Grindstone that had an entire vegan menu and a shelf of random used textbooks to peruse.

As I put back the book that taught me that pigeons are superstitious a flyer on a lower shelf caught my eye with a familiar logo – Alexandra Day.

I picked up the flyer and scanned it. A Monday night show at Tritone on South Street – not a twenty minute walk from my house – with one of the best songwriters in Philadelphia. Doesn’t take much convincing.

Then I continued to read. She would be splitting a bill with a band whose name I didn’t recognize, who would play the entirety of Joni Mitchell’s Blue.


Improbably, I currently name as Blue my second favorite album of all time. That puts it above albums that I played on repeat for entire days of my youth. Albums that taught me what music was.

How, then, can that one LP – that I didn’t hear a single song from until college – come to eclipse all else in my collection?

It’s the color of it. Blue is rooted in a palette of different blues, explicit and implied: midnight sky outside of a plane window on “This Flight Tonight;” the melancholy emotional blues on “All I Want” and “My Old Man;” the twinkling blue tinge of frost on “River;” and the blue tv screen light in “A Case of You.” It is music that makes me see color, every single time I hear it.

It’s also the sureness of it – the way threads of blueness and yearning to get back to California are woven through the album. The sureness of Joni’s indelible performance, and the perfection of the tracking. In my opinion it is nearly the ultimate in a singer-songwriter album, and if you are assembling an album you ought to spend some serious time listening to Blue to understand how to make its formula your own.


I mentioned the upcoming show to as many people as would listen, but I have other promotional duties as well, and I couldn’t seem to hook anyone with the play-through of the Joni album. I wound up tired and alone Monday night, installed in the back corner of the Tritone wrapped in a jacket and scarf, sipping cranberry juice.

Alexandra came by my table, her usual whirlwind of energy and vinyl pants, but she immediately caught on that I was at an unavoidable ebb.

“This is a good bar to just sit in,” she advised. “I’ve come here many times just to sit in the corner. And, you’re really going to like the band.”

The band, I learned, was Ellipsis – a local jazz trio. They assemble the second Monday of each month with as many additional players as necessary to make it through the entirety of an album. In the past two months I had missed a swing through Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” and Neil Young’s “Harvest.” And, Alexandra said the word in the room was that next month’s artist would be Bjork.

My excitement was paired with skepticism that any band could replicate the magic of Blue, especially a jazz band who I discovered in short order did not have a guitarist: piano, upright bass, drum kit, and hand percussion, plus a young jazz vocalist. Joni Mitchell’s best album without a guitar?, I mused. Is there any point?

The band set up a projector beside the stage that shone a series of images – the cover of the album, long dusty fields, empty starless nights – across their bodies and onto the wall to their right. Without much preface, they began “All I Really Want,” possibly my favorite Joni song.

My skepticism continued for a verse – the arrangement on this one was measured mimicry, and the vocalist was treading delicately around Joni’s words. Then we reached my favorite point of the song, exuberant in new love even as it plumbs its unsure depths:

All I really really want our love to do
Is to bring out the best in me and in you
I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you
I want to renew you again and again
Applause, applause – life is our cause
When I think of your kisses
My mind see-saws
Do you see – do you see – do you see
How you hurt me baby
So I hurt you too
Then we both get so blue

I hadn’t noticed, but as the verse continued I leaned farther and farther from my seat, as if I thought the song could just reach out and envelop me. By the time Samantha Rise reached that melancholy pinnacle, “we both get so blue,” my ass was barely in the chair. I was in love and wrapped in the color of her voice.

The show that followed is one of the best I’ve ever witnessed. A silkier, surer version of “My Old Man” that sent a chill through my body. The quiet menace of the quickly descending fifth in the b-section of the otherwise pretty “Little Green.” A raucous, celebratory turn through “Carey,” stripped down to it’s upright bass and percussion and then built again (here I exchanged a glance of incredulous amazement with Alex and she just laughed and turned back to watch the show). A perfect, absolutely verbatim rendition of “Blue.” A saucy, jazzy version of “California” that transformed directly into a racing, free-form take on “This Flight Tonight” complete with scatting. “River,” bare of it’s jingle bells and with a frostier pulse. A subtle, measured read on the oft-covered “Case of You,” possibly the best lost-love song ever written. And, the sometimes superfluous “Last Time I Saw Richard” transformed into a incandescent elegy for the entire album, although in its narrative it perhaps comes first – her old man gone and married to some chick who skated around on the iced over river.

At the end I was breathless and teary. I witnessed something unique and transformative, unusual and terrific. I saw all of the colors that Joni painted into the album, and so many more.

It was a show that should have played to a packed club, or even on the main stage of the Kimmel Center, and I was watching it from the back corner of what is effectively a living room with a bar and a stage along with twenty, maybe thirty fans.


I’m inexplicably nervous to talk to other musicians, a condition that’s becoming increasingly paradoxical as I play more frequently. I am one, so shouldn’t I understand how to approach one?

Samantha – delicate and composed on the stage – was twinkling and approachable off it it. I think I heard her boasting to another fan that she could defeat him at any Mario-based game. Eventually I noticed her by herself at the bar and plunged in.

“That was so good. Blue is one of my favorite records, ever. You really did it justice.”

“Wow, thank you. It’s one of mine too!”

And so we just talked, just for a minute or two – the easy chatter of two people who love music. She shook my hand and jotted down her information on the pad I had been sketching out my next Trios on, and parted with a nod and a smile, settling in to enjoy Alexandra’s equally amazing set.


Three days later and I still can’t get her and Ellipsis out of my head. In that last post I wondered if I still saw colors in the world, but Samantha answered that question neatly. Sometimes you just need someone to show you where to look.


Over the past few days I’ve spent most of my free moments unknotting the multi-thousand post mess that is my neglected Google Reader.

It’s fascinating to me that I let it go unread for so long, because I’m always looking for something to consume. I spend all night pinging in a circle from LiveJournal to MySpace to FaceBook to Huffington Post to Ain’t It Cool News, seeking out ever-more-incremental updates. Eventually if none of them seem to be in motion I’ll settle for mindlessly playing the newest game over at Kongregate.

Think about that for a moment. Elitist, progress-oriented me will settle for the empty feedback mechanism of a flash video game rather than check up on the lives of hundreds of my peers via my Google Reader.

What the hell? It seems my introversion extends to the blog arena as well.

And, I know you’re all like, “Peter, enough with the introversion already, you’ve kept a blog for eight years and in each of those years I’ve seen you make a willing spectacle of yourself in public at least twice.”

I had that in mind as I caught up on Confessions of a Pioneer Woman, reading her tongue-in-cheek FAQ post. In response to a question about agoraphobia, she says:

I diagnosed myself with mild agoraphobia because although I PREFER to never leave my house, I still CAN leave my house if it involves doing something fun. But even then, I usually choose to stay home. I’m emotionally, physically, psychologically, urologically, and ophthalmologically attached to my home.

Note that this woman lives and actively works on a ranch, so to some degree the concept of “home” likely includes some portion of the vast outdoors, which makes her not your traditional agoraphobe. Yet, in her mind she is still mildly agoraphobic, because left to her own devices her natural orientation is to remain in her home space.

That description perfectly fits my view of my own introversion. In areas I define as “home” I’m a natural socializer: work, meetings with friends, the stage … all perfectly comfortable environments where I can be myself.

However, socializing with co-workers, attending friends’ parties with people I don’t know, or hanging at the bar prior to playing … those experiences all make me feel weird and out-of-place. And, I know not everyone is a social butterfly and that it takes time to adapt to different environments, but my reaction is on a different level. I stop being interesting, opinionated, vocal me. I literally forget how to do it. I’m back in grade school, unsure of which lunch table I should approach to garner the least teasing.

That can really get in the way of my success in the arena of local music. Because, much to my disappointment and chagrin, you do not get booked all across the town just for showing up once or by being able to play for an hour without interruption. I assumed people would listen if I trained my voice and wrote well-structured songs.

Well, I was mostly wrong. You have to be persistent. You have to make connections. You have to build to your own personal tipping point. Otherwise, you’re some asshole stranger trying to make a splash in an unreceptive room.

I’ve been that asshole too many times, and I’m really trying to learn how to just be a regular regular, even if my regularity is slightly irregular, because being regular is really an extroverted attitude rather than a frequency of appearance.

I’ve been striving for that this summer, both solo and as Arcati Crisis. Each has their own challenges.

Solo means its hard to get me out of the house, but once I’m out I’ll sit and endure hours of open mic. Usually after my set I work up the nerve to say hello to a few people, as prior to it I am endlessly revising my set list. (One day I’ll play a solo gig and adhere to my setlist exactly. Once. Eventually).

Arcati Crisis gets me out of the house more quickly, because – duh – I get to hang out with Gina. But, once we’re installed at a coffee shop or bar I clam up around the other musicians because – duh – I get to hang out with Gina.

For a while we’d hit entire strings of open mics without making any new connections or friends, but lately we’ve been taking turns being sociable, and we’ve been rewarded by meeting some amazing musicians, like Andra Taylor, Year Long Day, and Kursten Bouton, just to name a few we’ve gotten up the balls to talk to.

So, that’s going well. The more people I meet, the more reasons I have to get out of the house and play – I am cultivating pocket of “home” at every open mic in Philadelphia. At Lickety Split I can be myself at a single table, but at Blarney South I’m me at the whole back half of the room.

Google Reader presents the same opportunity – to turn peers into pockets of extended home. Yet, if I neglect to read Pioneer Woman, and Mark Larson, Akkam’s Razor, Moose In the Kitchen, What If No One’s Watching, You’re Doing It Wrong, and dozens of my other favorite blogs, then they stop being familiar, and my barriers go up. No emails, or comments, or track backs. CK becomes the splashy asshole.

In my Google Reader cruise I was also catching up on longtime CK peruser Karl Martino, and happened upon a post about the apparently ongoing Philly Blogger Meetup.

Imagine that – a setting that can combine the terror of going to an unfamiliar open mic with the daunting task of talking to total strangers alongside the deeply uncomfortable experience of talking about my blog to someone who has never read it before.

I signed up.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in.

When I am out and about as much as I have been lately – happy hours and concerts and open mics and all that – I become fussily self-involved and introverted in all of my off-hours.

I’ve never had to sustain my “on” state four or five nights a week before, and it’s definitely taking it’s toll on my personality, subsequently turning down my volume and contrast until I can adequately recharge.

This always catches people who don’t know me that well off guard – namely, my co-workers. In my corporate life there is a lazy susan of personality quizzes that spins back around every year or so, and each new set of peers are like, “really? introvert? are you sure?”

You can’t really afford to be an introvert while being an account manager, so I can understand their confusion. But, everyone else knows this about me: I need to balance personal and public, output and input. And, sometimes even when I’m the communications guru the off state can make an appearance. Word spreads pretty quickly that I am having an in-service day.

On the homefront my darling Elise is, curiously, trapped inside of the introversion – the girl in the bubble – forced to act as the shoulder-angel to complement the devil in me. To her credit, she knows the call and response pretty well now – communicate, commiserate, and castigate.

(i.e., first find out why I am fussily inwards facing, then agree whole-heartedly with why the rest of the world sucks, and then finally tell me to shut the hell up about it and lighten the fuck up.)

So, yes, we all know this about me by now, having read and re-read endless iterations of the cycle here over the years. Sometimes the ebb is measured in weeks; lately it’s more minute to minute. Round up friends to go on a bar crawl, turn off my phone the next day. Buy twenty new CDs, eschew them to write songs all weekend. Et cetera.

What we maybe didn’t know was that I have a similar web ebb (webbeb?), insomuch as when I’m all over MySpace promoting the band and Facebook keeping in touch with people and Gmail haggling with various wedding musicians, and The 61 hearing awesome new music and, oh, my job that involves keeping tabs on people in email all day … when I’m doing all of that I’m in my on state, and then I get home with the intent to blog and I am off and I’d rather just write eighteen emails to myself and work on my 20k word critical essay on Hedwig then chronicle what is what for the internet at large.

Which is, as per my wont, my excuse to say here comes a backlogged tonne of thoughts and links and mental flotsam that I need to flush out of my system so I can talk about actual timely topics like politics, and my wedding, and how my band fucking rocks.

(Which, by the by, it does, and did, just three hours ago. But, before we get to that, first the further digression…)

i am sounding out the silence

A few weeks ago I visited Rabi in NYC. It was an relatively ad hoc trip – I owed her a visit, and she was free for a few days. Things just fell into place.

Rabi and I are not the bloggers we once were; both of us allow our domains to fall into silence for weeks or months at a time, when the span used to be days or mere hours. One might imagine, then, that we had more to talk about than usual, having missed so much errata, minutia, and other blog-worthy details of life.

Not quite. In fact, upon my departure I had the distinct impression that we had spoken markedly less than in any previous encounter. The quantity changed, though the quality of the conversations wasn’t any more or less.

It made me think: do I speak less now, in general?

I’m quite sure that I do. At work I am almost entirely autonomous, and spend long stretches of my day quietly creating project plans or proofreading. Elise and I operate on slightly less words than we used to, if only because it takes less to communicate our meaning these days. And, I despise the phone, as ever. Yet, even in public situations – in meetings or dinners or parties – I have the perception that I’m saying a lot less than I used to.

The next question in sequence is: why? The easy answer is “circumstance,” but all of the circumstances that surround me are ones that I manufactured for myself, which leads us to a second “why.”

Do I just have less to say? Am I becoming less self-involved as I (presumably) mature? Am I growing more comfortable with myself, and in turn with the silences that surround me?

Does it mean that I’m listening more? Or, am I more introverted – less likely to expose myself to others?

Looking back into the microcosm of Rabi and I, walking in circles in the East Village and around the Seaport, I can see a little of each reason. I’m sure there are days where one dominates, and others where they are equal.

It just makes me wonder: where did all those other words go?

NaBloPoMo Round-Up #9: M Defeats, O Redeems

I originally had intentions of doing M and S tonight, but the Ms really took the fight out of me. It was all I could do to squeeze in Os as originally scheduled and still write a normal post before midnight.

In honor of the nine-thousand and fifty-two mommy blogs i read in the Ms, i actually performed some baking, because i have finally convinced myself that the cookie dough is tastier baked* than raw.

* where baked does not equal microwaved into a smoking heap

Let the games begin. Continue reading ›

Yesterday was impossibly full… two or three different days all slipped deceptively into the packaging of one. Shopping turned into lunch, which turned into a deep conversation about what made me who i am, which turned into a concert for my mom that ended with a concert that pulled out notes and chords from places i’ve never been before. That was one day… happy deep family day. Then there was my day to myself, with guitar and internet and music and napping and food. And, then, came my day with friends, which typically started out happy and fun and quickly descended into misery. I’m usually introverted enough towards the middle and end of big parties, but this time i had headphones with me so i just turned on the good bits and let everyone at the party do their miserable little social dance to the sounds between my ears. Eventually i got tired of waiting for the people i wanted to be with (the story of my life) and i went out on the front step and turned it up all the way until finally i set off for the apartment.

So many blogging things happened in there… things i’ll have to say eventually for me to make more sense. Somehow i explained to my mother exactly why i like to be thin and why i like the girls who i like and why i have to be successful at something and she understood it all with this wane little smile and tears welling in her eyes. I can’t imagine what it must have been like seeing me from the outside… i wanted to thank her for everything and so when she asked me to play “under my skin” i shut my eyes and opened up and poured things into it that she had never even heard before, and afterwards she sortof just stared at me and i was just sweating and breathing and smiling because somehow i opened the song up again just when i thought i had used it all up.

It’s hard to quantify 20 years in any kind of way, but somewhere in between my nearly mathematical proof that i’ve never had a male role model before Peter Mulvey and my gut-wrenching concert i think i was having a happy birthday. The only happy one out of the three.

Last night i didn’t get back to the apartment until nearly ten, having gone for well over half a day without much of a moment’s rest at all. I wearily made it up the two flights of stairs to our parlor, took a few minutes to exchange pleasantries with the roommates, mounted the third (steepest) set of stairs to my bedroom and then rolled into my bed. I was nearly out like a light while from downstairs i was being asking if i wanted to walk down the block and get some sushi, and i have no recollection of anyone returning with a meal in hand.

It occurs to me as my first week living with Linsday and Erika (and, for the moment, Jack) wears on that sharing a house with me must be a terribly surprising. Before Jack and Linsday moved into Erika’s old apartment (the Player’s House) they had been there so often that they were roommates by extension long before they were ever roommates by virtue of having a key. They were known quantities. While they surely had funny quirks about the kitchen or the bathroom or keeping tidy, the experience of sharing space with them was not a revelation of any kind.

On the other hand, there is me… alternately extroverted and introverted at parties, sporadically but dedicatedly a participant in theatre, and a music enthusiast who refuses to concede his theoretical superiority of intelligence. With every tiny interaction i have with Erika in the kitchen or while knocking on Linsday’s bedroom door i realize that anything i could be doing would be a surprise to them, because i don’t know what they might be willing to expect based on what they’ve known of me so far. Tiny things like my willingness to attack the dishes if asked, or the controlled cyclone of my room, or my quick retreat to the seclusion of loud music and a game of Snood before bed… all of them seem strange enough to me but i can’t imagine trying to fit them into the strangely perceived context of me that they must already have.

The other side of this thought process is that any given set of roommates alters one’s behaviour in a different kind of way. Kenny kept me cheery and social, Victor left me territorial and bitchy, Matt trained me to apathetic and sedentary. Each of these influences weren’t exactly surprises, since my roommates were unflappable, disrespectful, and disinterested in that order. So, i’m wondering how my new housemates are seeing me (especially Linsday, who i’ve been around the most both in and out of the apartment) and how i’ll subtly change as the year goes on.

Isn’t it funny how i’m sitting here waiting to find out who i am? Maybe it just seems amusing from the inside…

The dichotomy of my own personality can occasionally shock me. This week I haven’t even set foot in my own apartment before 11pm every night, and all of the intervening hours are spent in the presence of other people. Imagining little self-absorbed self-involved me wandering around from one group setting to another is somewhat unsettling, even though I almost love it. I know I love getting back to my apartment just long enough to check me mail (real mail, not email) and then crash out in the body-shaped dent in my bed full of pillows. I love seeing people I care about every day.

At the same time, I feel empty. My normal enthusiasm for everything from crossing the street to opening doors for people is gone. People keep asking me what’s wrong, and even though nothing feels that way obviously they can read it on my face. I feel disconnected from my songs, even after I spent literally the entire weekend holed up in my apartment with my guitar recovering from all the time I spent outside of it last week.

When I took the Myers-Briggs personality indicator last summer I strongly leaned to one side or the other on every category except Introvert/Extrovert, where my score was nearly centered. All of the people who took the test with me were shocked because they couldn’t imagine me as an introvert, but anyone who really knew me well just chuckled knowingly. I don’t know how to make time for other people and myself in my life, and so right now I’m trapped at one extreme knowing that I’d feel just as trapped at the other. The reason I’m involved in so many performance groups and activities is because I know they’ll always get me outside of my room, and that I’ll enjoy myself while doing them. But, sometimes I give away too much of that time, leaving me feeling as though I’m lacking my own energy and opinions, and I try to fix it by spending whole days holed away from anything else. But, it doesn’t work. I played guitar for nine hours on Saturday with no interruption, but it doesn’t feel like I got anywhere. I need to distribute those little pieces of personal time around my schedule for them to mean anything.

Of course, I can’t necessarily distribute. I know people who do what I’ve been doing every night, and who have been doing it for years now. They’re happy people, but I suppose they just scored higher on the extrovert scale than I did, because I can be just as miserable and depressed while I’m surrounded with friends as I am sitting alone in my apartment. Lately I feel like I’m just circling some sort of desperate emotional low, and that as long as I keep myself moving I won’t have to notice it. But, at this point, moving might just be getting me closer.

So, i took the day off from blogging yesterday to do nothing. Sure, i went to work and all that, but otherwise it was wholly uneventful. I wound up sitting on my ass watching NBC reruns and eating salsa all night. Very productive.

It’s just that after spending so much time busy with friends nearly every day, a night to myself becomes entirely meaningless, even though it’s what i thought i really wanted. Sometimes i start losing touch with my “identity” when i’m flitting from person to person and from place to place, but then i get back here and realize that i haven’t got the slightest clue at what was missing. So, maybe i’m just possessive of my free time and want to make sure that i totally waste some of it on my own, or maybe i really do need time along here and there to recenter. Who knows…. anyhow, it’s off to work with me.

I literally ran into Laurel in the middle of the street the other day, and we talked for a while (after removing ourselves from the traffic flow). I don’t know about what. She said that i’ve come out of my shell (i made sure to clarify that “shell” didn’t have anything to do with “closet,” and she assured me that everyone was quite sure i was still inside of that), and while i first i was a little offended (Did she mean to imply i was some sort of corner-lurking little dweeb? I mean… moreso than i actually am?) as the conversation ebbed and flowed i saw that i really didn’t seem like the same person i was a few months ago. One of my other theatre friends recently commented that she couldn’t have lived with “the me from last year,” but she could definitely live with me now.

I feel like i should spend time staring in the mirror after comments like these to try to see what’s different, but i think that’s something the old-me would do. Maybe the new me isn’t such an obvious narcissist…

Tee-hee! Looks like Tom is getting ensnared in the life of another real person. I’ve got to say that i’m rather happy for him, as it’s always cute to read as bloggers slowly fall into like (or love, or whatever) with someone (and i can’t say it’s awful reading about fleeting liplocks and exchanged numbers… it makes me feel like i get out more than i actually do. Which i don’t. Which is funny, because i can really be a voyeur within the walls of my own apartment without employing my clumsy pair of binoculars. But, i digress…). Of course, it’s never fun to read about them falling out. So, erm… Tom, please just get married after your first few dates so you don’t subject us to any misery later on down the line – though i have to say that this nervous business about calling him is downright adorable. And, Tom? Please do try not to drool down your chin… and have fun.

Brant, i know what you mean when you talk about friends and acquaintances and how to tell the difference between them. Sometimes it’s hard to keep a perspective on what’s happening outside of yourself – like the disorientation you feel when you play a first-person shooter game from the camera angle that floats behind your own head. Sometimes you need to remove yourself from what you’ve got stewing inside and view your friendships from the outside, because then you realize how good some of your “acquaintances” really are for you. It’s not their fault that you can’t share all of your private life with them, and you need to accept them on the terms of what they do know and love about you rather than what they don’t. I went through a miserable and lonely couple of months last year when i decided that i didn’t have any real friends, until one of my real friends pointed out to me that it’s not her fault that i won’t share anything personal with her.

Of course, if we would share personal things with our friends, would we need the internet anymore :p

I actually hadn’t figured that out for years and years. I honestly thought that the echos swirling around in my own head and the occasional fleeting contact would be more than enough to sustain me. But i was wrong. I need an audience, a support system, and a friend. Or more than just one. What i do know is that we can transmit feelings through touch. Only two weeks ago i would’ve laughed if you told me that. Have you ever really held someone’s hand? Held it like it was its own separate conversation, where the squeeze of your fingers says more in the middle of a sad story than any hug or sympathetic word or anything else? I say all that i have said with my lips and other things, and sometimes the other things are just as important.