At the beginning of this weekend, I never expected to be in the backyard of a lakefront mansion, learning how to merengue from someone I'd never met whose name I never learned, as a DJ played Brazilian baile funk, salsa, and dancehall before segueing into more wedding-reception-style fare.
For being as introverted and averse to large groups of people as I am, I've crashed more parties than one would think, though this one seemed very open-ended. I went with a married couple, people that I enjoy, but one feels very very single when it comes time to socialize and everyone is older and with their significant others, partnerless on the dance floor even if I wanted to and unable to join into any conversation. I thrive on the spark of dialogue about ideas and places and stories and if I don't have it in a social gathering, I really don't know what to do, wondering if I've made myself look out of place wearing all black in a sea of Hawaiian shirts and red white and blue.
Usually I run into someone I know because like my dad, I've somehow ended up acquainted with all sorts of characters, but these people were all strangers and not so much unfriendly as uninterested and if they were interesting, they didn't let on. If I got a hi what's your name, it was brief and any small talk involved the weather or the lovely view or maybe someone's new car.
At this point, I probably would have bailed out, walked back to my car parked in front of my friends' house around the block, to return home and watch the pyrotechnics from my balcony while drinking tea, but in the interest of literary inspiration and anthropological observation decided to stick it out because as the sun set, I was able to sit back and be amused by the flirtations of the affluent putting each others' numbers in their iPhones, and normally reserved Asian grad students channeling their inner disco divas to "Get Down Tonight." The fireworks were beautiful and I could be anonymous, taking in the scenery and seeing a world that I simply don't exist in.