Thank God for hackles and the way they raise.
Because mine were put to use tonight.
At least, they were if I actually have hackles. Or is it just dogs that have hackles? Well, whatever--something told me that a quick exit was in order, be it intuition, common sense, or just the fact that I was outnumbered in a stairwell with two foreign men who admittedly had had too much to drink and wanted me to sing for them like a trained monkey and yes, I realize monkeys cannot sing but just go with me on the simile, okay?
Oh, but the moments leading up to the hackles...Between shows today I had some inspiration on the piano and I wrote maybe two thirds of a song which I am excited about. I also discovered a big difference between the ushers in the states and the ushers in Canada: Canadian ushers are young and good looking and could totally be mistaken for models on their way to a shoot. Not quite as good as being mistaken for a cabin crew on a plane, which is what we got mistaken for the other day, but hey--you can't win them all, Canada; you can't win them all. But enough about the ushers who look like models and oh yeah, don't even have to pay for their health care, poor things.
And back to the song.
So after the show tonight, and then after watching a movie with friends, and then after eating some old gingersnaps and even older popcorn, I happily stole away to my stairwell, guitar in hand, ready to work on that song.
And I was doing just that, feeling the groove, getting good and acquainted with the melody and lyrics, when I suddenly heard a door open below me. I stopped strumming and singing and heard an accented man's voice call up, Please don't stop; you sound so great...
Um, okay. Thanks! I yelled back and hoped he would go away so I could keep working.
I started playing again, only to hear the same thing, or a derivation of it, in a few minutes. This time I did not even stop. But he climbed the stairs and peeked up at me. Great, I thought, Now we have made eye contact and all I want is to get away alone and play.
Again, he told me how good it sounds as if I didn't get that he thought that after the first couple times he said it, and leaves.
But as luck would have it, he came back up those stairs just a few moments later, this time with gifts! Oh joy. He offered me a beer and I said no thanks and I was hoping that was that. But it wasn't that because then he came back with a friend. A friend whose birthday it was, apparently. A friend who had drank too much, or at least that is what they informed me.
They came up those stairs, the one man telling the other, See, didn't I tell you I would show you where to find some great music? And they were just standing two feet from me, telling me to please don't stop on their account and that they don't have a radio and all they want to do is listen to me play because I sound so good.
And that was nice of them to say, but at that point it was me in a stairwell with two foreign men who were drunk. The fact that one was having a birthday was irrelevant. People have friends to make birthdays special; that wasn't my job. Everything within me was telling me to leave five minutes ago.
So I did.
Well, not five minutes ago, not having perfected the science of time travel and all, but I left hastily. And awkwardly. I even banged my guitar as I stood up, making quite a ruckus as I told them that I really needed to go check on my friends (who were doing just fine in our room, laying in their respective beds and watching TV or on their computers, I was sure). I even managed to yell out Happy Birthday! right before the door slammed behind me because even though it wasn't my job to make his birthday happy, I still wanted it to be happy.
And when I got back to our room and told my friends about the ordeal they all informed me that they would have gladly taken the beer. But that might be the difference--or at least one of them, anyway--between men and women. A guy will gladly take a beer offered from a strange man in a stairwell at 2 am in the morning and simultaneously thank his lucky stars for his good fortune and rekindle his faith in the altruism of mankind.
A girl just shouldn't take that beer. Not in the stairwell. Not at 2am. Not with two strange men. Her hackles will raise and she should just get the heck out of dodge.