In Which the Author Is Cheerful. Seriously.

It has not been a good going-out week for me, despite what my horoscope said.  Is it possible, just possible, that horoscopes are just made up? I’m growing concerned.

So I went to a show that shall remain nameless, at a location which shall remain nameless, because I like both the band and the location. Attending said show, I was standing at the back, lost in thought, enjoying the music, when Annoying Shaggy Bearded Hipster in a Tweed Golf Hat walks past me towards the bar.  He immediately gets in my face, looking at me with mock concern.  “IT IS GOING TO BE OK!”  he tells me.  “Don’t be mad! Seriously.  It’s all going to be OK.  Wow.”

I am absolutely taken off guard.  “I’m not mad,”  I tell him.

“Seriously.  It’s all going to be fine.  Can I get you anything?  Do you need any hardware at all?”  All the while, patting me on the shoulder and holding on to my elbow in a sarcastic, just-calm-down fashion. And I don’t even know what “do you need any hardware” means.  Are you offering me a drink? Or a firearm?  Or are you just impaired enough that you are not making any sense? I chose not to address these issues.

“Nope.  Thanks.  I’m fine.”

Well.  At that point, I was Not Fine. And I was indeed mad. Because what right did he have to ruin my evening, by making a point to tell me that I was giving off an angry vibe?  I am fully aware, friends, that there are several points in the last month or so when I have given off an angry vibe.  But this was not one of them. I was not smiling.  But then, it was not a smiling song.  I was also not, for a change, emotional over honky tonk, or frustrated with my career path, or being impatient with my mother.  I was happy about taking Friday off, and driving up to Asheville for a wedding, and fall weather, and a full moon, and my new dress, and seeing old friends.  For the moment, I was lost in the music, which is exactly where I wanted to be.

Until this jackass wrecked my evening.  What bothers me is not that this guy is a jackass, because being a jackass is his problem.  What bothered me is that he took the classic aggravating  “Smile, darlin’!” comment to a whole new level, made me self-conscious, and made me question my demeanor, expression, posture, outfit, and whatever else about me projects anger that doesn’t exist.

It’s not the first time I have heard that I have a hard outer shell, if you don’t know me. Fine.  Not to get all defensive about it, but I think it has something to do with traveling solo on five continents, and also being the girl that tends to attract Crazy anytime it’s within a hundred yards of me.  Projecting cheer and looking approachable has gotten me into some uncomfortable situations over the years, both at home and abroad, and don’t even get me started talking about when I smile and make eye contact.  Somewhere between Indonesia and Istanbul, I developed a travel stance, unapproachable and tougher than I actually am, which I had to take to a whole new level in Egypt.  Apparently, I slip into it accidentally, out of habit.  When I’m happily enjoying a band. I am Angry Girl.

Except that, with a few notable exceptions lately, I’m not. And I don’t want to be.  I don’t know what to do about any of that.  My aura is tarnished.  Maybe I need to be smudge-bundled with sage.  Maybe I need to go to charm school.  Maybe I need to learn to ignore jackasses in crowds.  Maybe I just need a vacation.

As luck would have it, I’m on one right now, in Asheville.  Tonight is my friend Siler’s wedding, at a barn in the mountains, with a bluegrass band and French Broad Chocolates. I’m sitting in the window at Malaprop’s, looking at the last of the golden leaves clinging to the trees, drinking a chili/cayenne/cinnamon mocha. A bunch of people I love, just wholeheartedly love, are down the street at our bungalow, sleeping in after our late-night pizza and beer.  More of my dear ones are on the way.  Whatever it is that I am currently radiating, it is all very much ok, way better than ok. It is mighty fine, friends.  Mighty fine.

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