Every year, I try to get to two or three Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) performances. I tend to go by myself because even though several friends express an interest in seeing the Symphony, they can’t commit to make it happen…or I can’t wait for them to make the commitment. So I just go, solo.
But going solo doesn’t mean I need to skimp on the evening. In fact, this post isn’t about going to the Symphony on my own, it’s about the hour or so before the concert starts, when I’m out, sitting at a bar, treating myself to full evening. If I was going out with friends, I would have a cocktail and/or food beforehand. Just because I’m heading out solo, doesn’t mean I don’t deserve the full evening. Right? Damn, right!
On my own, by the way, is different than “by myself,” a common misconception people who don’t go out solo make. I am by no means “by myself.” Sure, I walked out of my apartment literally by myself, and am not specifically meeting someone, yet I am entering into a social environment with other people. Therefore, I’m on my own but totally not alone. Just spinning the facts to make me look good, work with me. A lot of people, whether they want to or not, are about to run into me socially. I should probably put a warning sticker on my forehead. P.S. In case you don’t get it, I’m an extrovert. Hello you!
My go-to pre-game for the Symphony this year has been McCormick and Schmick’s on Fountain Square. My choice of McCormick and Schmick’s is WAY out of character for me as the place is a chain and I don’t eat at chains…except when I do.
The local M & S, has a great happy hour (that I should actually take advantage of more if only for the $5 cheeseburger, really). Because it essentially M & S serves as the Westin Hotel’s restaurant there are always interesting tourists mixed in with the locals.
Over the course of my 4 concerts this year I’ve chatted with a with variety of folks. I’ve spoken to a few members of wedding party “escaping the family upstairs,” a guy who was a lily expert on his way to the Home and Garden Show, two middle aged women on a downtown pub crawl (they were wasted and hilarious), and an on-line yoga instructor (discussing with his server every ingredient in every appetizer!). I know this, because for some reason, people are willing to have conversations at this particular bar.
Or, as an extrovert, I’m forcing them (twisting their arms, leading them down the path or some form of coercion) to be present in a conversation. It’s wonderful, interesting, and often surprising.
Last night, plied with bourbon from a very personable bartender Tony (who remembers people’s name and drink orders), I sat next to Tracy, a woman wearing a University of Cincinnati sweatshirt who was on her way to the Reds game. We talked about Bourbon, and the Streetcar, and 80’s music, and FCC soccer, and a variety of topics. And the two of us had a conversation with the Cubs fan who came in (she gave him some good natured shit). After she left, and I was about to head out myself, two ladies from the NYC region sat down. They were in town to see one of their sons’ perform in a percussion competition. One was an oil logistics coordinator, the other worked helping hoarders in the five boroughs of NY City. Fascinating. All of it. And I get to experience it because I’m an extrovert who is willing to go out on my own and chat to people I don’t know. People are amazing. Sometimes, I believe, we get so wrapped up in our own people, that we don’t/can’t/won’t take a moment to get wrapped into anyone else. Starting talking to someone and working with what we have in common instead of what differentiates us is, in my opinion, something everyone of us should practice more. This type of communication is not for everyone, but worth it if you can and are willing.