Last night I went to my second Thursday with Drinking Liberally. This time I actually got drunk. Drunk and quiet, for a little while before a restroom stop. That means next time I don't get drunk. Conversations are more fun than beer. Beer don't taste good in the first place. It's a seesaw experience. I was hoping to show up at the start time of 7:30. But then I was on instant messaging. So I was a few hours late. My internet was down for most of the day and only late in the day I realized I had stepped on my router on my way to bed the night before and the box had to be put back into shape to get my lifeline back, and I was giddy online. I watched a few clips of Jon Stewart. Funny, first time online. It's a Mary Joyce hint from Morocco. (Democracy Spreading Mechanism, The Demosphere Manifesto)
I had a rice dinner before I left for the site. But then a block away I saw a neon sign for falafel. Don't tell me ads don't work. So here I am at a Drinking Liberally event, a falafel sandwich in my hand while everyone else is drinking. Jen - first time meeting - spotted the thief. "That is not from here, is it?" No. I smuggled it, literally. I had it in my pocket when I entered. She is doing doctorate work at Columbia, something microbio. From Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "I got a picture with Vilsack." I said. Bird flu is a media myth, she opined. The media got m-e on that one.
The evening was a seesaw experience. Last week it felt like a liberation from the DFNYC structure. DFNYC events end at around 11, just when you are starting to warm up. I have yet to be the last man standing at a DL event.
This week I kind of missed DFNYC. There is too little political talk at Drinking Liberally. Or maybe I got too drunk to have fun; last week felt much more fun. It is like you sit and there are pitchers at the table literally staring you in the face. There was only one mild protest, from a young woman. "I paid for it." Oops, sorry.
But then my thing is this blog. I have plans for the video blogging aspects. The traditional way of only moving political ground by doing events will not work for me. Video blogging is like skipping a road tour. Also meetings are ineffiicient. In the blogosphere the learning curve is steeper. The exchanges are more intense at the ideas level. My political style does not involve shaking tons of hands.
And I have come to like the structurelessness of the Drinking Liberally events. I like the idea of showing up early and staying up late. I like the idea of there being at least one such event a week. Looks like I am going to get much more selective of which DFNYC events I show up for. And I like it that Drinking Liberally events are also in Williamburg, as elsewhere, Bronx, Queens. I am a proud Brooklynite. Brooklyn has character. It is not Manhattan or Queens, it is Brooklyn. It is more residential. There is a Desi tinge to my neighborhood too. There is a paan stall walking distance. That falls in the priceless category.
Justin Krebs has this presence about him. He has the look of a retired rock star. He is just cool and collected in his ways. He does have a ponytail. And one guy name starting with a J - I forget the name - pontificated on the ponytail. For a moment I thought Justin was running for something. I asked him if he was. He said no. The suggestion from J was that Justin should get rid of his pony express. Ask Robert DeNiro to get rid of his black dot: I have two of those.
There is another Jen. Incredibly friendly. She is one person who actively introduces people to each other, otherwise most people end up in these small bubbles of small groups, and outside the bubble there is sometimes the suggestion of stepping out of the comfort zone: we need a few more Jens. The whole thing is a group dynamics curiosity to me. She is easily life of the party. She is taking pictures. She teaches my name to a few people. Justin had to take some time off to go to a Screening Liberally after event, and Jen filled in. "Don't let the party die down," Justin said before he left. He might have said it to John though, but that's okay. And when Justin finally finally left for the evening, probably around one, maybe later, he gave me a card for another Liberally event. I guess he really puts in the effort. I want to get to know this guy. He is one of those movers/shakers.
It was not Stephanie. But Tiffany. The "on and off Broadway" actor. Seattle. Lives "two blocks from here." The Cincinnati Adam vacated the table. The CBS Tom - "yes, the Letterman CBS" - vacated the table. I was sitting and shaking my leg, kind of dancing to the music. Tom could not handle it. He was nice about it. He decided to stand up and mingle some more. And so Tiffany and I are talking. And we got flanked by two Js. I forget their names. Both webmasters. One is larger than life, talks in huge sweeps and gestures, also loud. Another thinks cable TV should be pay per channel. "$3 a channel, so I should be able to get the only three channels I watch for $9 a month. That idea right there should make someone a millionaire." How about me?
"What about online pay per view shows?" I pitch in.
And Tiffany got the royal treatment. One J poured her some drink. Another gave a gentle back rub, one stroke. And I am thinking, either they are picking up threads of conversations they started earlier, or this is a concerted white male attack on the budding race-gender coalition. After India takes over the world, I am going on a vacation. Justin dropped by at the table a little later. Three Js. "Tiffany and I live in the same neighborhood," Krebs added.
If you think about it, the anti-choice stance is symbolic rape. It is the woman's body, but others want to decide what happens to it. The woman may not have a say, they say.
Race, Gender And Relationships
Last week Tiffany brought up the royal massacre of 2001 when I told her I was from Nepal. She knew.
"I knew the guy."
"Why did he do it?"
"They wouldn't let him marry the girl he wanted."
Looks like this group also has this core, tight group of about 15 people, or maybe not so tight, just regulars, and there are many floaters. Kind of like DFNYC, some of whom make me feel claustrophobic, a few guys whose idea of intimacy is to invade your privacy. Sexist exclusion is not my idea of male bonding. If you want to get along, it is easy, just say hello.
But then like someone said, guys, no matter what their backgrounds otherwise, all they have to say is, "Man, women are weired," and they bond. It might be primal. And the woman's collective identity is a soup of its own.
Talk of DFNYC, they have something called the Spring Gala coming up. Jim Dean, Leecia Eve, Eric Schneiderman, Scott Stringer, Norman Siegel - looks like Siegel's magical grip over DFNYC continues! - are showing up, I think. These politicians show up at DFNYC events like their careers depended on it. $50 price tag. But there is dinner to be served. I hope it is not dress up, but it probably is. Leila Noor just emailed me saying it is not dress up. That is a Ms. Organizing Committee. She sits on every political committee in town, especially to do with events. I have thought of going and not going. $50 is expensive; I am not running for anything. What if I were to eat $20 woth of food? Gorge it?