True confessions: I do not love First Friday.
I want to love First Friday. We’re supposed to love First Friday. I love art, I love galleries, I love friends, I love downtown, I love downtown restaurants, and I love Fridays in general. But not always First Friday. There’s always a mess of hopping from place to place, leaving one location just before the people you’d hoped to find arrived, or arriving just after they left. You wedge your way into a gallery or two before meeting people for the loudest dinner on the planet at Raleigh Times, and then can’t hear anything because of all the intoxicated shouting at tables around you, and dodge an awkward encounter here and there, and then all the galleries are closed before you’ve finished dinner, and then you go home feeling like you haven’t completed a conversation or fully appreciated the art or connected with the people you thought you’d see.
If you think the above paragraph makes me sound old and judgmental, you’ll love the fact that for all those reasons, plus the additional bad attitude which comes with sleep deprivation and impending layoffs, I skipped First Friday altogether. Bailed on dinner and went home to the puppy, and we were asleep before ten.
Things didn’t get extremely judgmental until I heard how the night went without me. I stayed home for an evening, and a huge crowd of people I thought I knew ended up going out dancing until 2 a.m. AT NEPTUNES.
I made all sorts of scrunch faces about that. I heard the description of the club music, and the bar, and the number of fedoras in the crowd, and assorted tales of misbehavior. I nicknamed the guy my friend met “Justin Timberlake” and have judged him mercilessly for being out at Neptunes picking up women. “You can’t judge him,” my friend said. “I was at Neptunes as well, after all.” “Oh I am totally judging you too,” I told her.
It was correctly pointed out that a) the evening had nothing to do with me, and b) I had no right to get all judgy about Neptune’s when I wasn’t there, and c) I had chosen to exempt myself. And yet: I could not be more shocked if I had awakened Saturday morning to find My People had all decided on Friday night to become Hell’s Angels. Or join a cult. Or move to Cary. Or, worse, become Glenwood South people. It’s like I don’t even know us anymore.
“I thought we were on the same page about Neptune’s. Now I have to re-evaluate everything. And I am too tired from the dog not sleeping to re-evaluate anything. I do not want to splinter off from this group of friends, but now I need an additional group of friends who will mock Neptunes with me.” I was exactly that petulant when I said that.
“It was a fabulous time,” said everyone.
“Fedoras,” I said.
“You have never worn a fedora. How do you know you wouldn’t like it? How do you know you wouldn’t rock it?” said everybody.
“There are few things of which I am certain right now,” I said. “That nobody after 1945 should be seen in public in a fedora, is one of them. That nobody, ever, should wear a maxi dress, is another.”
I got a lot of raised eyebrows about that, too. Turns out we were never on the same page about the tragedy of maxi dresses, either.
So, fine. Not everyone, like me, was the sober person at Hopscotch whose volunteer shift was to be posted in front of Neptunes for seven hours, watching that ridiculous mess of humanity coming and going. I have stories on top of stories. I have pre-judged the situation. Not everyone in my friend group thinks club music is insufferable. Not everyone in my friend group thinks club dancing is the silliest activity in our modern era. Not everyone in my friend group is as old as I am (not by a long shot.) Not everyone in my friend group is sleep-deprived and cantankerous right this minute. Once I have caught up on sleep, I am going to make a sincere effort to stop rolling my eyes. Because these are My People and I love them dearly, even though my illusions of Being On the Same Page have been shattered.
Fine. I hear it. I could stand to resolve to be more open-minded in 2013. Less judgemental. More adventuresome. Less in-my-own-box. I’m not there yet. Please nobody say “fedora” to me this week. I’m fragile.