inside & outside

I go to a play along with a group of friends– that is, they’re the group of friends, and I’m going along with them– a distinction which becomes more evident as the event progresses– first there’s a seating awkwardness in which I start to sit in what I think is a free seat in the middle of the row only to realize it’s been invisibly earmarked for one of their inner circle as that person moves into it and I get a small odd look, like, yes? what can we do for you? so I move on down the row to the end but one– and then wonder if I should offer to switch so the end person can sit beside her friends– but the play is starting, so I sit quiet. the play turns out to be an annoying, insider, referential affair– the entire group I came with is laughing and eating it up, and all I can think is how bad and irritating it is. as soon as it ends, I abruptly tell the one sort-of friend who’d invited me in the first place that I’m going– and leave without bothering to explain myself to the others. then I’m walking through the neighborhoods of the city when I realized that I had driven to the even and feel bad for bailing– as if in compensation I’ve abandoned my own car and am walking the whole way on foot. it also turns out that I’ve put a wallet and things in my pockets to hold for one who didn’t have a bag or a pocket big enough and that I still have them and she has to come get them now– I think, it’s too bad, but what’s done is done.

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