Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Adventures in Reading

I'm almost done, folks.

And by done, of course, I am referring to all the reading I'm supposed to do for the rest of the semester. I just finished Pattern Recognition by William Gibson for my Science Fiction Comparative Literature class, and have just started in on Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson. Already I'm enthralled by the concept of a guy named Hiro Protagonist who attended Pizza University to learn the subtle arts of delivering pizza on time.

After Snow Crash, will come A Tourist's Guide to Glengarry, by - I forget who, but once I've finished that, I'll have nothing else to read except for the poetry for Canadian Lit, and the Shakespeare plays for Shakespearean Lit. After that, I can finally start reading the Entertainment Weeklys that have started piling up on my desk, as well as February's issue of Locus magazine, which has the Recommended Reading list for 2005.

And after that, I can finally go back to reading the books I got for Christmas from my friends and relatives, and then I can start reading the books I've bought myself. Heaven.

Lately I've been trying to be more social. I'm not a social person by nature, I'm extremely wary and self-conscious - if not outright terrified - when I find myself surrounded by a large group of strangers in a social situation. Of course, when I'm terrified, I'm often jumpy, thoughtless, irritable, and bitchy, and can't resist complaining and making snide remarks, which understandably offends some (okay, many) people.

Being more social means apologizing (in person and in writing) to the Soprano II section of the University Mixed Chorus. I was a total ass for six months. Everyone at the choir was so nice and thoughtful, that it really threw me off. I'm not so pathetic that I'm unused to people being kind to me, but I was unused to complete strangers going so entirely out of their way to be kind to me. In return, I bitched when I couldn't get copies of the sheet music on time, kept to myself, and complained whenever the Soprano II choir director made a mistake in teaching us something. Of course, in my dull, oblivious mind, I sort of forget about other people when I'm off in a rant, so when I come back the next week in a better mood, after having forgotten everything the week before, the others haven't forgotten anything, and are certainly not in a better mood, at least towards me.

When I was rather suddenly made aware of this by the Head Choir Director (who told me in no uncertain terms, that no one, in the twenty years he's directed choir, has ever spoken to him the way I have, which makes me feel absurdly special), it came as a complete shock. I was so sure I'd make friends in choir, that I sort of took their special kindnesses for granted and assumed they were always nice, and always happy, and always ready to forgive.

So, now I'm all social, or trying to be social, in order to make for past mistakes. This means going to Karaoke with the choir after Wednesday practice, a tradition that involves drinking a lot of beer (this I did not do), and howling into a microphone while the infantile DJ makes crude sexual jokes (this I did). I'm not good at Karaoke myself - I always imagine I will be, but my Soprano II range makes me uniquely unsuited to singing pop music - the girl songs are too high, the guy songs are too low, so I'm always stuck in some sort of neutral, toneless middleground that isn't horrible but doesn't really show up my voice, either.

Aaaanyway, if I'm under the right circumstances, the experience can be good. The best thing to do is to meet up with a group of friends (or people who remain friendly towards me) BEFORE going to Karaoke. Its much better to travel to the bar with friendly people than to go up alone, and have to search for them in the dark, loud, crowded bar later and have them juggle seats to find a place for you to sit. I'm not going to go every week, but I will go more than once, and sing at least one song before leaving. So far, on 2 1/2 Karaoke excursions (the 1/2 was the time I went up alone, and sang Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" before a group of strangers, and felt so embarassed I left right away, passing choir members in the elevator who'd arrived later), I've sung the Beatles "Can't Buy Me Love" (I'm still in the Dempsey phase) Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire", and "Ghostbusters".

I'm not going today, because I'm already meeting a friend for coffee after class, so that already fills up my social quotient for today. At least for me. I'm tired, okay?

1 comment:

  1. Is it all about you?
    Aren't you the least bit concerned about how the people you interact with feel? Or is it just about making sure that you are leaving a pleasant impression, so you don't get an unpleasant reaction. Maybe you need to invest (translation: care) in people a little, the way they tried to invest in(translation: cared about and welcomed) you. (First you need to dig yourself out of a BIG hole...hope it is not too late, might take a LONG time (hurt feelings take a long time to go away, you know that better than most) and more that a few pitty kareoke nights).