Monday, January 12, 2009

HCO event #2

This was an urban hike to explore the historic Clarksville neighborhood west of downtown and eat at Caffe Medici. It had a limit of 30 people, with another 15 on the waiting list. I get there, and in total there are about 15 people, which another HCOer tells me is just about average for most events- 50% no shows. So that's why I could never get into any events at the last minute when I was a member before, though now I know I could probably show up anyway.

So our leader is late because she went to the wrong place (even though she set up this event herself, hmm.) We've all been chatting in the group circle and had talked to and introduced myself to about 1/4 of the group. Though I could tell immediately there were no men of interest to me. Bummer. And about 90% of the group already knows each other. She has us say our names and then we are off. No safety talk, or instructions on how to warn the group about cars- she did suggest on the calendar to bring a flashlight and about half the group complied. This is in contrast to T3, where everyone is required to wear a reflective vest and flashing light and/or headlamp. We wander down one street, hit Mopac, turn around and go back to the cafe. Then back the same way, loop around one block, and then back to the cafe. I'm not sure if we're lost, or if this was the original plan. The houses are nice looking, but she's not giving any information about them, of the history of Clarksville. We avoid getting hit by cars, but people are all over the road and sidewalks.

I did discover the good and bad parts of hiking with a group- you naturally pair up because it is hard to walk three abreast and still be able to hear and converse. So I chatted with one guy briefly at the start, and then the rest of the time was by myself. And it just doesn't work to join in to an ongoing conversation between two people, and also no one was trying to include me. And as it went on, I kept getting more and more angry. "This sucks, I'm not talking to anyone, everyone already knows each other, we're wandering around in the dark in some random neighborhood for no reason, etc." Which I'm sure put off a good vibe for anyone thinking about approaching me, so I tried to tone it down, but probably wasn't very successful.

After about 45 minutes, the leader asks if we want to keep walking or go to the cafe. I vote cafe, but am outvoted. Another HCOer compliments the leader about how she loves her events, they're always so interesting. Okay... The leader does at that point say: "The Clarksville neighborhood began when Governor Pease gave one of his freed slaves, John Clark, a plot of land." And that's it. So I ask "how is it that this neighborhood is a predominately white, upscale neighborhood today?" And she says "I don't know." Okay...

So we loop around another block and end up back at the cafe, which it turns out DOESN'T SERVE FOOD! It's coffee only. I'm starving and annoyed and want to leave immediately and apparently half the group does, probably to go to a number of the cute looking restaurants that surround the cafe, but I must have missed that when I went to the bathroom. So I get some water and chat for about 10 minutes, then leave at the earliest opportunity.

So the point of going to one event per week is to not get hung up on one bad event and to lessen the stress associated with doing new things. All I can say is this one sucked pretty much all around.

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