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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Spirits

About 2 weeks ago, I found myself strutting around the downtown section of Tallahassee, Florida. The Christmas lights streamed from the treetops like a thousand stars and lighting this entire median park system that the city garnishes with these decorations. It was night. My day of work had sunk with the sun. And I was again looking for something to get into. Every town that I find myself in, I make it a priority to explore the downtown section. You know find out just what this city is about?

It was Florida so it wasn’t too cold. By the time I spotted the 2nd homeless man, I saw something of interest, which is the main bulk of this story. I peered across this sparkling fountain and passed the two bums sitting there reading on a park bench, there in the distance…I glimpsed a building with people in it, not a restaurant. -A place with lots of gadgets in it. I thought it may have been an arcade. I walked towards the building and saw two people outside smoking. I asked them what was going on, they said it was a Canadian Mist Convention. They both had these pins on that read “Mistology”. This building was a museum. The type that had all sorts of fun science gizmos to play with inside. I glimpsed through the front glass doors of this building. The first floor had many, chairs and tables lined up, though empty. The upper floor, I could glimpse the legs of people lining up for some sort of queue.

One of the lady’s spoke up in between puffs of her cigarette, “They’re done with the convention. Though, they’re beginning to eat.”

“How much does it cost to get in?”
“I think it was like 15 dollars?”
“I can go in and pay now?”
“Yeah, probably.”

When I asked about paying, I looked in and saw that the front desk was entirely empty. I didn’t really know what I was doing. But it looked like an adventure. So I lunged for the huge front glass door, opening it silently, and then letting it shut. I was completely unnoticed by everyone. I saw this huge air contraption in front of me. If you pulled on it hard enough, it would shoot off a tennis ball whirling into the air until it fell back into the funnel like contraption. The front desk was, as I had seen it outside, completely vacant. I guess it’s sort of like a ballgame. When you it gets too late, free admission. Or that’s the way I liked to assume it was. The people upstairs were lining up with plates in their hands.
“Oh good, I’m just in time for dinner” I thought to myself as I grinned.
I casually walked up the steps and blended right in with the crowd. There was a table before me with some sort of apple cider being sampled. A lady rushed right behind the table as approached and asked me to try some of it. “Sure”. It had a pinch of a whisky taste to it. Then she mumbled something about the CEO of Canadian Mist. I naively asked who the CEO or founder was. I apparently failed to realize that the CEO probably gave this long speech in the real convention lecture downstairs, hence all the tables, chairs, and the projection screen. The lady looked at me funny, probably just thinking that I am a poor listener like most college age kids when it comes to lectures, and not some bored vagabond waltzing into their convention. She pointed at this middle-aged man behind me who was wearing a Hawaiian shirt. Oh, the CEO of Canadian Mist. He was talking very intently with somebody. I turned to explore more of this upstairs museum where all these mistologists were assembling. The crowd was mostly around college age or thereafter, so I blended in naturally. Nor were many people dressed up like you would imagine. Blue jeans were frequent among the guys and so I didn’t feel out of place. The majority of people had these Mistology pins on. But a few didn’t, so again, it wasn’t like they would discover me. There were a good number of attractive ladies. But they were all in pairs or in groups of females and I was all alone. And if you know anything about social mingling, you know never, the lone stranger wolf to go up to the graceful herd of deer. They become snobbish, snotty and very aggressive. It’s better to pace your time and wait, sipping one’s drink and occasionally making eye-contact. Actually, waiting for their signals. If any. Usually, the only conversation that’s ever made is very light and trivial and even this is rare, if you are shy like me and wait for their advance.

I went over to one of the sampling stations and saw this lemon-lime concoction they were making in a drink. I’m too ignorant in such much matters to know what to tell the guy I wanted for my free samples, so I just repeated what the guy before me said. I went over to a vacant bench when this older woman who helped run this convention, said something to me about my drink. After a few swallows, I was a little more talkative than I am with strangers, and asked her about the cards she was carrying in her hands.
She said that these were the cards that we all had filled out at the beginning of the convention and that she was drawing them to see who wins. I said that I hoped that I was the next winner. She said, “Well, why don’t you pick out 3 cards.”
I did and each winner, of course, was not me. They were all females. This lady then gave me the honor of calling out the names really loud so that the winners could hear and come forward to get their gifts. Nearly every name I called out, one of these beautiful girls walked up, their high heels clacking. One of them was confused and took her prize, and we had a very simple chat, and that one opportunity to strike up a conversation was missed. I sunk back in my reserve, wondering why I don’t have a wing man. If I had a good wing man, preferably of the more outgoing type, then I wouldn’t be this corner hugger. The lady, who worked there, told me because I worked hard for her, that I should receive a prize as well. She handed me this baseball cap with Canadian Mist printed on it.

Canadian Mist was probably the first strong drink that I ever tried. I must have been about 13. A friend of mine and I where spending the night at my Dad's, and we found this bottle of Canadian Mist. The last dregs remained sloshing around at the bottom. We dared each other to take a swig. I turned the bottle upside down and felt that my entire face, nostrils, lips were on fire. I gagged and gagged, nearly coughing up my stomach. That enounter made me against drinking. And I never really desired to drink later in life. And here I was at this Canadian Mist Convention..if only it was Root Beer.

The food was being served and most everyone had gone through the line. I picked up a plate sampled the entire line of finger foods. Over to the side, other drinks were being sampled. I think I had two more. One was this whiskey in eggnog type stuff that was much too strong for my teetotaler tongue. But I bore it anyways.

The people began to disperse a bit, among the contraptions and all the science gadgets. You could play them while drinking whiskey. A noble idea, I guess. I played a few, but quickly got bored with them.
My content with the situation, and the realization that the only reason I would want to stick around for more, was the women, made me decide to leave. I wandered off into the darkness being invaded by Christmas lights.

I had gotten all free, 3 drinks, 1 plate of food, 1 baseball cap, and maybe 2 hours of restless time killed due to that little escapade. I hope everyone else ends up with a better situation at Christmas. Stay away from whiskey eggnog and girls that drink whiskey eggnog. Go to a church, instead. And there celebrate real Christmas, not the commercialized crap all over the media, malls, and shopping plazas.

Yay, Baby Jesus.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Damien said...

Go to a church? Celebrate REAL Christmas? Not commerciali---
Hey, preachy christian! Don't tell me what to do!... oh. I just told you what to do. Sorry... yay baby Jesus.
Merry Christmas, Bri' & Happy New Year!

12:20 PM  
Anonymous the author said...

Happy New Year to you too, Damien!

2:40 PM  

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