The Southern conference college graduate young professionals are having a tailgate party, it sounds like, on this rainy Saturday afternoon on my street as I get ready for work. The bass notes thud through the walls, simple video game repetitive, two notes, three, maybe, and over the monotone a gang of rappers is angrily shouting. The voices of the young men carry boisterous over the familiar soundtrack and the low low low bass. A single rapper incants something, words spaced with mathematical evenness. Occasionally there is a group shout to assert masculinity.
Invited to a friend's get-together, an informal party to mark the lifting of Prohbition, here at a small embassy quarters near the river, the attempts of my trying to schmooze linger as misguided attempt, that attempt followed by the sad inevitable wandering around 9 PM in Georgetown, checking out a wine bar, then approaching the bar at the Four Seasons where somm friends work, both of which were mistakes. My real self does not translate in such places of show, and it's probably good that I felt hunger and got a cheeseseak at George's House of Felafel before cabbing it home. The somm guys are too busy to engage or make any attempt to hook me up, and I give them an imitation of Dave Chappell. I talk to a few women, but it doesn't go very far. "Do you write poetry?" "We all do," I try to explain. I feel a gentlemanly desire to express interest in the real life of a fellow human being, but everyone seems distracted by the idols of the evening, its rhythm.
Yeah, what am I doing at an embassy function talking with State Department people? What am I doing at Bourbon Steak pretending I care, though I do care about what restaurant people are up to.
I am a refugee from the world of liberal arts, trying to find my values, trying to be them, and yet it gets lost in the shuffle before a busy bar and I'm smart to just go home.