Raj on “The Big Bang” theory, at least in the early seasons, couldn’t talk to Penny unless he was drinking alcohol. I get that. Back in my club DJing days, I was always isolated from the crowd by playing music in a DJ booth removed from the action. I controlled the tempo of the bar, but I didn’t participate in that tempo. I never had great social skills in that situation; I indicated my attraction to my husband by shining a light in his face from the DJ booth. Sexy times.

Earl has not been feeling well the past couple of weeks; his back has been hurting him and he’s had a lot of down time. When I told him that I was in the mood to go out for a drink tonight he encouraged me to do so alone. There’s a gay bar not too far from our home, it’s a 10 minute walk or one ride up the Brown Line to the next stop. The clientele is older. The music is from a jukebox. The faces are friendly. I decided to venture out alone.

I’m still not good in these social situations. I tend to get a beer and park myself on the perimeter. I’m fascinated with the people watching. I love watching the cliques do their thing and finally mingle. I enjoy watching who goes home with whom. I like trying a different beer. I was content. A man approached me and asked why I was standing in the corner. I replied, “I’m flying solo tonight and just watching the crowd.” He invited me over to their corner of the bar and said that they were friendly.

I thanked him but continued to do my own thing.

Another man invited me to dance to “Life In A Northern Town” by The Dream Academy. He was about my age, incredibly handsome and although there was no dance floor, the bar area magically cleared when he decided he wanted to dance. I couldn’t find a danceable rhythm in the song so I made a few strides and smiled in an awkward manner. He thanked me and moved on to someone that could find rhythm where there was none.

Apparently when I stand in the corner, drinking a beer by myself and enjoying the people watching, I can be a little intimidating. There’s a million things that I could use to strike up a conversation but I’m worried that I’ll misstep and say something awkward and people will then tweet about me and I’ll have some sort of dark sticker on my identity and my lack of social convention will go on my permanent record. I can chat with the best of them, but only after the conversation has started. I’m not good at meeting new people and I’m not good at striking up a non-dork conversation. I need to get better at this sort of thing.

I tested the bar by playing a fairly obscure Mariah Carey song on the jukebox. The track was “Prisoner” from her first album. I’m not a Mariah Carey fan in any way, but this song was a drag favorite back in 1991 so I wanted to see if the crowd knew the song. A couple of folks at the bar sang along so I apparently wasn’t completely out of my element. I finished my beer and left, nodding a smile at a few people along the way as I made my way out the door.

I had a quiet walk home. Maybe next time I’ll actually interact with the crowd instead of just observing it.