Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Very, Very

Oh man is this ever one of those days. No reason in particular, I guess. The whole day feels like I should just be in bed staring at the wall or something. It feels like all of the Kami on this side of the world finally got word of what’s going on in the Pacific and in Japan and they’re just all sat down on the curb, crying on the ants and feeling really really depressed. I can feel it today. It’s one of those “there’s a disturbance in the force” days that I would have expected to have happened a lot closer to any of the turbulent events in recent weeks… but no, it hits today. Like a mack truck.

Speaking of recent events, there are so many things about which I’m pretty excited. First and foremost, my beloved husband will be defending his thesis next week and then, by the gods, we’ll be promoted to “Dr. and Mrs.” because, by the gods, he’ll have his thesis all done and printed and defended and everything! A PhD! Very exciting. I’m so proud of him. So very, very proud.

In other news, I did something a few weeks ago that was very, very…

Well, let’s see. I guess you could pick just about any word out there and it’d fit pretty well: “Fun”, “Awesome”, “Out of Character”, “Dumb”, “Foolish”, “Brilliant”

What I did, you see, was go to a party all by myself. It was a group of people who I had never met in person before. There was only one person there with whom I had had a terse email conversation. In short: I knew nobody.

And it was a mardisgras party. And it was “masks and costumes encouraged but not mandatory”. And it was downtown. And it was at night.

And even now I can feel my inner 15 year old clawing away at the inside of my skull, just riddled with panic and fear and shrieking “ARE YOU NUTS?!?!?”

Oh yeah… and it was organized by the local Pagan Pride group in town here. No foolin’! It was actually called the Pagan Pride Mardigras Dinner or something.

And that’s when my inner 15 year old passes out clean with the words “how humiliating” escaping from her blue, limp face.

Issues? Me? You’re so big fat not surprised. You’re not fooling anyone. Shut it.

Anyway, I got all dolled up. Mask and everything, and went to this gig all by myself to meet some fellow pagans at a neutral-ish event in a darling little facility in the dark in the city. Why not, right? Time to back up my big mouth and see where I really stand on these ideas in public, right? If I can dish it to my computer and torture myself with this stuff as I’m falling asleep at night then sure as hell I can grow a pair and surround myself with like-minded people for once. The way I saw it, there were two potential sides to the event:

1) they’d be awesome, welcoming punk-like people who really got what it meant to be Heathens in this day and age.

2) they’d be nerdy L.A.R.P.ers with no social skills and weird names like wizard-breath and wonder-sky and everyone’d be high and smell of patchoulie.

I was kinda’ right on both ends.

Luckily for all of us, it was certainly overwhelmingly more #1 than #2.

When I arrived at this party – dressed to the nines in my heels, my lil’ black dress, my glitzy feathery mask – I immediately felt overdressed. There were lots of jeans in there. What I anticipated (wrongly) to be a sparkling bonfire of hundreds turned out to be a quiet evening of about 60. It was hard to blend in, because I was blending in to people who had lifestyles and beliefs that were already very similar to my own. I felt like the chameleon at a chameleon party. You know? Like, wait – I’ve never had to pretend to be “just” me for ages… how does that work again?

And honestly, and without fail, every single person there was warm and educated and a really comfortable conversation partner. By “comfortable” of course, I am referring to my special brand of socially awkward that you only get from years of neurosis compounded by far too much education. So yeah, I fit right in.

I spent most of the evening chatting with some Celtic Re-Constructionists. If it were the sixties, we’d call them Druids, but since that’s like calling everyone in India a Brahman, it’s much more acceptable to use the C.R. term now. And I get that. Besides, it’s not like there’s a lot to go on when investigating these ancient traditions… so frankly “reconstruction” is the best way to describe what these people are investing themselves in. And it’s great! They’re really a lot like me, all of them. Even the weirdest of the weird-o’s. When I met more norse heathens, they were all quiet and understanding and not a one of them had the “horned helmet and yarn braids, arr’ yarr” vibe that I so often get from the renaissance crowds. These were all real people, with real jobs and real backstories. And nearly all of them wore the Thor’s hammer amulet I’m so rarely seen without. How cool is that? It was like a secret handshake that didn’t need to be explained or even a secret.

Beyond that, I have to confess that I was thrilled at the mental challenge as well. Every single obscure (and flamingly nerdful) reference I threw down (Hellboy, Rorshach, 42, Sonic Screwdrivers, Dialing the Gate, Sammy & Dean, and Starbuck’s superiority as a dude… among others) was not only recognized but landed soundly on no less than three or four sets of ears at a time. It was alarmingly comforting and I found myself actually apologizing for how unusual the situation was. For me. I mean, there I was, right in the middle of a Pagan Pride Mardigras dinner event and I was totally, unconditionally, almost effortlessly fitting in! WTF? You know? When the hell has that ever happened?

Honestly, I was not the weirdest one in there, and neither was I the normallest. I was just me… and it was a really REALLY unusual experience.

So by the end of the night, and after loads of really interesting conversations (and not a drop of booze, I swear) I found myself sticking around to help clean up and continue the conversations. In fact, I didn’t even get a chance to chat with the gentleman I had gone specifically to meet (the one from the emails) because he was busy doing rune readings for guests to the party. What I did get to see, however, was the company he keeps. Everyone I met spoke highly of him. And that’s as good a measure of character as I could gain on anyone under those circumstances.

The few words we did share, involved my terribly brazen inquiry about if any among his “congregation” spoke Norwegian. He confessed that none did but it was a dream of theirs to get some exposure to it. I leapt at the chance to offer to teach them what I could.

So that’s what I’ll be doing soon. The gods can shut up now. I’ve reached out to pagans and connected with heathens and even made some new friends of sorts. I’ve got myself out in public in heels of all things, and I’ve got myself on track to start really contributing to a group of people who (for now anyway) couldn’t be more well suited to accommodate and work with my own unique brand of crazy.

It was an amazing experience. It was very, very…

And it was so very. So very, very.

Why yes, those are runes glued to my mask. Thanks for noticing. And the swirlies on the other eye matched my wedding/engagement rings.

1 comment:

The Hurli-Fam said...

Love it! You are so very,! :) If there coulda been a "like" button after every sentence, I woulda clicked, like, 27 times. :)