The other night I attended a Portuguese festival with my father in our hometown. Hudson, Massachusetts has been the home of a very large Portuguese population for at least two generations, and so Portuguese festivals complete with religious candlelight processions through town are not only commonplace but make up much of the town's personality as far as I'm concerned.
First of all, I'm not much of a party-goer. I am outdoors, whether we define that as literally outdoors or just out of our own home's doors, more than most people (not including the time you're at work, that's cheating) but in general I prefer being alone and, if I'm going to socialize, small gatherings over dinner or tea. While a few months ago I did start drinking alcohol in very small portions--to get used to wine so that I can have wine gatherings and further create the fancy, late 19th century bourgeois image that I'm going for--I think it's the most ridiculous thing we could possibly do. Oh well. That's not something I want to discuss here because the reaction of most of my readers, if not all, would certainly be, "pah! He's the ridiculous one!"
Aside from all that, what bothered me about the festival and the dinner/party at the Portuguese Club was that I hardly knew anyone. Actually, what bothered me most was that I went expecting not to know a single person; I had planned simply to be my father's political sidekick. I was pleasantly surprised. Two friends from my hockey days were there, saw me, and struck up a conversation with me. From there I met some of their cousins and got along brilliantly. But because I was there expecting not to know anyone and not to enjoy myself and stay with my father so that he could say, "this is my son," I couldn't run off and have fun. Indeed, it's hard for me to change gears, and thus spontaneous actions, while more common in my life now than five years ago for sure, are rare.
Why I'm frustrated with myself, reason number one: my vision for my life as a writer is to live in an apartment looking out over the downtown area so everyone knows where I live and can get there easily if they so chose, and so whenever I left my apartment for a walk or ride people would recognize me. Strange for someone who prefers to be alone to have just said that, eh? Well deal with it. I want people to be able to recognize me so that I can build up my reputation and image, partly so that I can advertise myself and my writing and partly so that I can spread my ideals more easily through osmosis. I also hope that the people in my hometown, Hudson, to be proud of me and say, "that's where John H.D. Lucy lives" to visitors. Yes, I have been more or less absent from my town for seven years since leaving for college, and yes, I am not Portuguese and cannot speak the language (though what little Spanish I can understand also translates to understanding a bit of Portuguese), but I cannot excuse myself for having such a small presence. I'm bothered that I didn't know people because I believe towns should be inhabited by a bunch of friends, and therefore my town and I should be best of friends; I'm also bothered, though, that hardly anyone knew me. About five people were excited to see me, and vice versa, especially since it had been so long, but it should have been more like five hundred people.
Reason number two: I am, much like Hank Moody from Californication, a writer who often says clever but ridiculous and/or inappropriate things. Within five minutes of meeting one of Adrian's cousins and his cousin's girlfriend, I had the group laughing and saying with blushed faces, "I can't believe you just said that." Rarely do I offend someone or get on their nerves but I am, and try to be, the guy who keeps the atmosphere loose and totally informal. It takes a lot out of me because I'm an extreme introvert, as I've been saying, but that's who I want to be and I do my best. But my reason for being there didn't exactly allow for me to do that, so I'm frustrated.
Thankfully, I was the clever wit long enough to ensure that my two friends would want to relight a very old though never very close friendship. So now I have famous friends. Josh and Adrian, himself a musician looking to make a name for himself, are the nephews of Nuno Bettencourt. Look him up.