I went to the Bowery Poetry Bar with a date as I thought she might be interested in watching as four writers perform/read their works and then get critiqued and judged by a panel of three (an editor, a stand-up comic, and a… I actual don’t know what the last one did, but he was hilarious). It was a blind date, and, for someone who stated that she has a great sense of humor and is fascinated by learning new things about people, she couldn’t have been more of a wet blanket. Sure, I might not have been at my best, and she confessed to being cranky when her blood sugar was low—which it was, we had to get her a sandwich—but I was the only one trying to make conversation while she was busy checking her phone as she had promised to talk to a friend of hers whose sister just passed (you really can’t challenge someone on something like that, but the goodbye handshake she gave me during the intermission was a big enough hint at the probable truth). That bummed me out, but I wanted to see the rest of the show, which, remarkably, became much more interesting, funny, and enjoyable when I wasn’t concerned if someone else was having a good time. In fact, it got better and better. I volunteered to go on stage (I thought we three chosen were going to be final judges but our task was more menial) where we were given targets with famous people’s faces and the finalists had to shoot toy bullets at the book burner of the various sets.
What really made this for me was that one of my fellow volunteers was a retired colleague of mine who I hadn’t seen in years. After the show we had a drink and an awesome conversation about politics, travel, literature, and work, you know, the same stuff I was trying to talk about with my date who claimed to be interested in such things. All this coupled with the fact that the day before I had a room of some hundred strangers laughing and cheering at some impromptu comments I gave (one person tracked me down just to tell me I “rock”), makes me think that the date’s problems didn’t stem entirely from me (although undoubtedly she will be asked how it went and will reply that it was dull).
So a craptastic date verses an awesome reunion: was this event a win or loss for me?
Check out Literary Death Match's website for specifics on those involved and be sure to catch the next one. Sadly, the live webcast doesn’t seem to be posted yet.