Last week I was invited out on a date. I know it sounds bizarre but I have been on very few dates in my life. I have known man-child since I was 17 and about 6 months after we met, he had moved in with me. We never really dated, instead going out with groups of friends to different pubs, clubs and events. Before man-child I didn’t date, sometimes I would have a ‘boyfriend’ but again we would go out with groups of friends so I never really experienced the crazy world of dating.
The weekly poker games that are held here are frequented by my colleagues, primarily guys that I have worked with in the past but have transferred to different areas and with many work-based friendships, we lost contact. I use the poker games as a chance to catch up on where everyone is and what they have been up to in the recent years. A few months ago, another old colleague of mine has been attending the weekly poker games here and I have had a chance to reconnect with him. We hadn’t seen each other for years but found that we still enjoyed each other’s company. One random conversation involved trying to book group tickets to see Mary Poppins. We couldn’t find a date that worked for the group that wanted to attend but we did discuss the possibility of seeing other shows together in the future.
Fast forward to last week and I get a call asking if I wanted to go and see Westside Story with him. I hadn’t seen the show and wanted to see it, the tickets were a great price so I thought ‘why the hell not’. We live in neighbouring suburbs so I figured we would catch the train in to the city together before the show. The plan was pretty simple but like all good plans the world conspired to make sure that things wouldn’t be so simple.
He finished work early that day so wanted to head into the city early to grab something to eat and I would meet him in there as soon as someone was home to sit with the kids. Here was my first fear/paranoia to overcome – meeting someone else in an unknown venue. Add to that the fact that he was likely to be with other friends of his, guys I didn’t know and the freak out factor was increasing. As I was walking to the station I was declaring to myself that if I could survive the night out of my comfort zone then there was no reason that I couldn’t stay out of my comfort zone and go to the Aussie Bloggers Conference in Sydney next year. I know that there is little correlation between the two events but it was just one step in my mind of convincing me to stay out of my comfort zone.
Anyway, I frocked up, after all it was the first day of Frocktober (I will post a photo as evidence for the 101 project soon Trish!) and walked down to the station. I needn’t have worried about walking into a bar or cafe to meet my ‘date’, the trains were late so I only made it in to the city in time to meet in the street and go directly to the show.
Arm in arm we strolled through the streets to the theatre. The show was amazing and I loved every second of it. Not knowing much about the story, I wasn’t prepared to be sobbing as I left the theatre! Despite my tears, I was having a great time. When a friend of my ‘date’ was outside the theatre wanting to know if we should all go out for a drink together I figured that I was out, it was Friday night there was really nothing else to do.
First stop was a karaoke bar. I had already said that there was no way I would sing but I was more than happy to have a giggle as they made a fool of themselves. That was until I arrived in the karaoke bar. Oh my god – the smell inside the bar was disgusting. Fortunately I wasn’t the only one to notice the stink so we didn’t stay, instead heading out to a different and equally dodgy bar for a drink only before heading home.
I had a great night. Yes I was out of my comfort zone for most of the night but I survived. I made small talk with a stranger, I sat at a table in a crappy bar completely sober and without a drink in hand, I even went home in a taxi (another thing that I wouldn’t normally do!) With that in mind, I figured that I could get the courage to book a ticket to attend the Aussie Blogger Conference.
The following day, as I was setting up for the second AFL Grand Final BBQ (or re-BBQ) for the year I stopped to check Twitter, as you do, and was reminded that early-bird registration closed in 3 hours. A fellow blogger just happened to be over for the re-BBQ and I mentioned the conference to her. With plenty of time for both of us to save, I managed to convince her to join me at the conference. Before she had a chance to change her mind, I was online booking tickets for the two of us.
On a side note – thanks to everyone who commented or sent me an email to ‘gently’ encourage me to book a ticket and just go. It has only reinforced just how wonderful the blogging community really is. Karen, there is still a fair chance that I will want to hold your hand and AJ you may still need to kick my self doubting ass all the way to Sydney so do you want me to book a room for you too? I am still freaking out (in a big way) but can’t wait to meet so many amazing people.