I’m having an increasingly difficult time being pleasant to people. I can’t figure out why. I was never a patient person to begin with and I’ve never “suffered fools gladly.” But now things seem to be really bad, indicating that my fear/fantasy of becoming a hermit might eventually manifest.
Last night I worked the door at a friend’s event. If the party doesn’t have “greeters,” beyond initial security the door person is an attendee’s first experience of the event. It goes without saying: that encounter should be a friendly, positive one. I was literally struggling to maintain a smile on my face.
The list of inanities that humans spew forth is endless and it’s not like I haven’t heard them all in the past, while still managing to conceal my contempt. It seems that now, however, even when people attempt to exchange pleasantries they annoy the living shit out of me. Hmm, was I always a closet misanthrope?
There were, of course, moments of complete stupidity. “Is there coat check?” a few folks asked. I wanted to say, “Coat check? No! Those two rolling racks of hangers behind me are an art installation!” Instead I summoned up a grin and pointed behind me, “Yes, coat check is right here.” And regardless of how clearly my co-door person instructed people to “line up to the right to pay” before they offered her their hands for stamping, people insisted upon handing their money to her or standing in the way, totally obstructing the process. It wasn’t an overly complicated system.
My favorite instance of idiocy was the group of four who cheerfully paid the cover only to return moments later, asking if this was the “End of the World Party.” I showed them the handbill with the evening’s line-up and, sure enough, it wasn’t the party they were looking for. My sympathy for their ignorance was deep enough for me to cheerfully refund their money. Mind you, this event was on a dark, semi-industrial block of Crown Heights, not a neighborhood chock full of nightclubs. How they found themselves at our door — and subsequently inside our event — was totally beyond me.
Anyway, I did enjoy myself, seeing a few people I hadn’t seen in a while, hanging out with my co-door person, Corinne, and munching on the chocolate covered pretzels provided backstage. The best thing about working the door is it’s easy to say hello without having to engage in any long-winded conversations. So it was a fun night out and I didn’t, technically, need to socialize!