Neither Carrie nor I could find an outfit we were really proud of for our debut into what we hoped would be a sweet niche of fun people. “This is the best I can do,” I announced as I entered Carrie’s room.
With a dramatic snap of her suspenders, Carrie said, “This is the best I can do.” After trying on a couple of my shirts and finding them too short or clashing with purple dyed jeans, I guess she had resigned to wearing a plain gray tank top. She’s still kicking herself for having the less is more mentality when packing in June. We shrugged and put on our helmets.
We rode down Heping Street, arriving at the bar Revolver sometime after midnight. I had a flippant curiosity. Wednesdays, when girls get two free drinks, was the only night we’d been here before. Those visits were pretty tame, but we also weren’t really in the mindset to meet a bunch of new people. This time we were. There was a $300 cover ($10 USD) which included one drink. We took them upstairs and saw that it was no longer just an empty room. There was a DJ playing drum and bass music while half of the crowd stood around casually while the other half danced. The room was small and comfortably crowded. We started dancing right away, having been deprived and all. Carrie was especially thrilled that it wasn’t Lady Gaga remix for once, which is the kind of music we have to succumb to at the clubs. After about 10 minutes, my coworker spotted me and came over. We couldn’t really talk because of the volume of the music, but it was nice to see a familiar face. I am glad to get to know him outside of work too. He introduced me to his girlfriend, and I could tell they are a fun, dancing, energetic couple.
When standing in line for the bathroom, we began talking to a guy and his visiting friends from Orange County. “Carrie’s roommate is from there,” I pointed out. I thought this connection was just grand. I shamelessly asked for his number. Desperation plus beer means less pride. I’m really not sure if I’d call him because I don’t know what I’d even say except, “Remember those girls that you talked to about nothing important while we waited to use the restroom at Revolver?” Ehhh…
We eventually went downstairs to get another beer. This ended up being my last beer of the night, and we were there until 5:15 am! I stayed in the bar area for 45 minutes or so talking to Julio. I really wanted Julio’s number, but I forgot to get it. He is from Guatemala and said he would help me learn Spanish. I lamented how I had nothing to teach him. We talked about how safe it is here and how honest everyone is compared to Guatemala City or the U.S. I laughed about how I had brought so many things with me designed to keep my belongings safe from thieves. “Like what?” he asked.
“A lock for my backpack, one of those slim little bags that hold your money and passport under your clothes, a specially designed backpack that is hard to unzip, stuff like that.” He’s been here for a while, and knows even more than I do that unless I put my backpack in the middle of the street with a sign that says, “Free” (in Chinese), no one is going to touch it for weeks, unless to inspect it for a name so it can be returned.
While Carrie and I were talking to Julio, this guy tapped my arm. “Is your name Emily?” he asked. “I think we met in Austin.”
“In that rooftop bar during South by Southwest.”
“Ohhhhh! Gene! I remember you.” I talked to him about Taiwan. In Austin, he had told me he’s from Taipei, and he recommended I live there out of all the other cities in Taiwan. “Look, I really made it!” I said, pointing out the obvious.
“Yeah, I see, good job.” He works for National Instruments in Texas and was on a business trip here in Taiwan. He introduced his two friends, Victor and Viktur (pronounced the same), and said that they live here, so I can be friends with them. Sweet!
While I was still talking to Gene, Carrie’s friend Gretchen saw her and came up to us. We hung out with her a month ago after Carrie got her contact info from an Austin friend. We thought she and her boyfriend were really fun, but we hadn’t seen her again since the one time. We ended up on the third floor talking with her, the other people we know, and some new people.
Then I saw this guy I had been dancing next to earlier in the night. He used to live in College Station, so I called Carrie over, “He used to live in College Station!” They went through the details of it, and he admitted that he’d been looking for a group like the one Carrie says she was friends with. By the way, if you’ve ever had a chance to go to a Barefoot Art Guild party that she and her friends threw, you know Carrie means when she refers to “The Neighborhood” She helped build a whole community of active young people trying to give College Station more culture and diversity., and those art guild parties were a great display of what they were all about. “It was our goal to reach out to people like you, sorry it didn’t happen in your case,” Carrie said. Carrie talked to him for a good while, and in the following days ended up giving this guy’s name to another friend of hers who needed a service he could provide, T-shirt making. Both of them were really thankful to Carrie for helping them meet since they were exactly who the other one was looking for.
The DJs changed a few times, and I liked them all. I couldn’t stop dancing, and it was wonderful! I was doing the kind of dancing where your body is making up new moves on its own accord, and you’re attention is focused on how great you feel instead of what you should do next with your limbs. At one point I came up beside two guys who were hunched over and pumping their fists downward to the beat of the music with their other arms around each other’s shoulders. One of the guys swung his pumping arm around me, and I joined them in their fun dance. Gretchen and her boyfriend had curled up together on the third-floor couch and fallen asleep. After writing a little note about how cute they looked and how, don’t worry, we captured it all in pictures, we tromped upstairs to leave it on them. The workers turned us away though; they were closing.
We stood outside talking to my coworker for a bit, and then we rode our bikes home while the sun began to lighten the sky. We passed some serious bikers on their way to the outskirts of the city for a morning ride. I rang my bike bell as we came up behind them. Not sure why, just sorta wanted them to notice how different but similar we all were, them with their spandex suits and us with our dancing grins.