2023-10-23: saying yes

got an email from one of my online poet-friends a few weeks ago: there'd be a book launch in the city, he and a couple others would be flying in, any chance i'd be able to make it? and while the pandemic has done wild things to my already precarious social skills, i immediately said yes: i'm guilty of saying no too much, i don't get out nearly as often as i should, and anyway, why not try take care of both of those things and meet a friend in person to boot?

the reading was great. i had an early supper but still mis-timed my drive, ended up jogging several long blocks downtown to try to make it there in time. it was in a little art gallery, and there were chairs and benches set up. a small crowd, maybe a little over a dozen? some people i'd met in the past, and some new ones. everyone knew someone, and by the end of the reading i'd be introduced to almost everyone.

i was awkward (as i am) but hugged my friend in the doorway before finding a bench and chatting to another acquaintance until the reading started. and it was wonderful: just under two hours, with each poet reading their work and lots of back-and-forth questions after. and then once it was over, it was decided we'd head out for drinks and food.

after thinking about the options we ended up walking the two blocks to my favourite pub, and sat down at a long table and ordered supper and snacks and drinks. i had a pint and a couple of scotch eggs, chatted with people, just listened. it was wonderful and i was grateful to be invited out. an hour before close i paid up, said my goodbyes, headed home.

it's good to say yes. it was great to get out to a reading, wonderful to finally meet my friend, and it's a reminder that i should head out his way someday as well, given the disproportionate number of old friends that live out there: people from my past, people i like, people i haven't seen in five, ten, fifteen years, and who'd throw open their doors to me if i'd ask, if i'd only find the courage to turn that no into yes.