Archive for October, 2012

Random coolness – love

2012-10-31 03:08:48 PDT

Was earlier, but saw something quite cool.  In colored chalk, on the sidewalk – a bunch of sidewalks – ran for about 3 blocks long, and also bit to the side on perpendicular sidewalks at some of the blocks.  About every 10 feet (3 m.) or so, a different, and quite touching and genuine “I love you” of one flavor or another, colorfully written out, and often also rather to quite “illustrated”, at least a bit, too.  Each quite specific.  E.g. like “I love you multitudes.”, with many people drawn, “I love your sexy brain”, “I love you in your sunglasses” – with drawn sunglasses, “I love when you smile at me”, etc., etc.  Looks like it was quite laid out to get the attention of a certain someone as they walked their approach there to a certain other someone.  Including various arrows and the like at different points along the way too.  A cool, touching thing to see.

I think the world needs more cool, strong, bold, courageous, and unabashed expressions of love, affection, care, concern, etc.  Quite reminded me too of  Seeing someone quite care/love – public displays of affection.

Sleep, sleepwalking(!), narcolepsy?

2012-10-25 08:13:04 PDT

Ah sleep.  And me and sleep.

Once upon a time I was normal.  Err, uhm, well, okay, much more normal/typically on the sleep, anyway.  But that was then.

“Now”, and most all my adult life, is quite a different matter.  I’m probably about 2 standard deviations off the “norm”, for sleep.  How do I sleep and how much?  Well, it goes about like this.  In not necessarily any particular order.  First of all, I don’t need much sleep.  I can get by fairly well on a continuous average of only 4 hours sleep per 24 hours.  However I do fair bit better with average of about 5 per 24.  But doing any running average of more than 5 per 24 doesn’t really do anything for me in terms of additional benefits or advantages.

And besides amount of sleep, how do I sleep?  It varies quite a bit.  Not only does the amount in any given 24 hour period vary a lot (even all the way down to zero, or pretty close, and not all that uncommonly), but timing and how contiguous – or anything but – varies a lot.  By nature I tend to be a night owl, but I’m not at all consistent on that.  I can really work or otherwise be awake, and sleep, pretty much to any schedule that’s not too insane.  For the most part, as feasible, I sleep when I’m tired, and don’t when I’m not, and that generally works rather to quite well for me.  Rather typical sleeping patterns for me, may be anything from mostly contiguous sleep, two or three “chunks”, or much more broken up than that.  E.g. one “night” (/day/morning) may be up ’till very late/early … e.g. 4:00 A.M. or well beyond – even, not too uncommonly, well past 2 hours before I need to get up “for real” (to get ready to go to work and all that, or whatever).  Other times I’ll fall asleep rather to quite early (e.g. 8:30 P.M.), but often not sleep long (an hour or two), and then be up most (or even all) the remainder of the night.  But more commonly I’m up rather to quite late (e.g. well past midnight, often past 2:00 or 3:00 A.M.).  Naps – sometimes I do naps.  Can be from exceedingly short (5 minutes, or even less), to quite long (hour or more – not sure if it still counts as “nap” if it’s that long).  Oddly/interestingly – something I discovered way back in college – I often find my sleeping to be much more restful/relaxing/recuperative if it’s not contiguous – e.g. most notably if it’s in two “chunks”, with a restful but awake period (e.g. about 20 minutes) between.  I don’t know why that is, but seems to work rather to quite well for me.  Perhaps wakeful mind and subconscious/dreaming mind/head, each want to get their time in and “process” stuff, etc., and neither wants to be “deprived” and not get “its” own time, for “too long” – for somewhat different definitions of “too long”, for each. Anyway, for example, back in college, I often found, that if I set an alarm for about 2:00 A.M., woke up then, but didn’t get up, but just rested, and slowly went back to sleep (typically in/after about 20 minutes time), I’d find that when I did get up for the day, that I felt much more relaxed, rested, and “better slept”, than if I just slept straight through, without that “break” in the middle.

And how quality of sleep?  Pretty dang good.  It’s not about being stressed, or unable to sleep.  Heck, sometimes I’ll sleep quite a lot – like sometimes I might do so on a day on the weekend, or if I’m away on a (boring!) “vacation” or the like – with little to do or hold my attention/interest.  Stressful bad dreams or nightmares or the like?  Nope, at least not generally.  Sure, when under stress, worried, etc., sometimes the dreams may run on the more sucky side of things, but not too bad, and certainly not nightmares.  Heck, don’t think I’ve had any nightmares since I was 10 years old.  Matter of fact, I think the very last nightmare I had was ended by my first lucid dream.  At least for me, I find, with lucid dreams – or at least head quite capable of doing so – zero need to tolerate any dream that’s “too unpleasant”.  If dream ever gets towards too sucky, my head just goes lucid on that, and fixes it up one way or another – tweak or modify the dream, significantly alter it, or totally break it off … on to totally different dream, or wakefulness, or lucid non-awake state and then probably on to other levels of sleep then – if not to dream or wakefulness.  So, yeah, pretty good sleep, dreams pretty good generally, or at least not too bad, anyway – and “challenging” dreams can be a good thing.  I think sometimes those are quite “trial balloons” for subconscious to explore trying to work something through, or rework and try again, e.g. a “how bad could it get?” exercise of sorts, typically with conclusion, “Oh, … not that bad.”

But gee, isn’t all that lack of sleep bad for one?  Well, there’s lots of literature, research, etc., all about how lack of sleep is rather to quite bad.  However, at least short of quite extreme cases (e.g. chronically well below 2 or even 1 hr. per 24), I’ve not yet seen anything which shows relatively low amounts of sleep (e.g. 4 per 24) as itself being rather to quite bad, if certain other variables are eliminated.  E.g. stress.  In many cases, when folks are getting relatively little sleep, it’s on account of stress.  And the evidence is clear that stress (the negative kind) is quite bad.  But what about where there’s less sleep, but not on account of stress?  Probably not nearly so bad – if at all.  The other key bit is how much sleep any individual “needs”.  That varies a lot person-by-person.  E.g. 8 hours (per 24) is pretty typical “need”.  By the time one gets about a standard deviation away, it’s about 6 or 10 hours.  Probably around 2 standard deviations away is 4 or 12 hours.  But, how much does one need – how can one tell?  It’s fairly straight forward.  Too tired/sleepy when one “ought” to be awake? Probably too little sleep.  Get more sleep – if that “fixes” that, one wasn’t getting enough sleep.  What about “too much”, or more than needed?  Too much can create grogginess.  Try less sleep.  Grogginess goes away?  Don’t end up sleepy when one wants to be awake (e.g. middle of the day)?  Then probably didn’t need that sleep that one trimmed out.  It also varies by other factors, e.g. age.  E.g. teens typically need significantly more sleep.  Anyway, I think, if one is getting adequate sleep – per one’s own individual sleep needs, and not missing sleep on account of stress, I think – and as far as I’m aware it’s the case – I think there’s somewhere from zero, to negligible/moderate downside health risks on getting relatively little sleep.  Anyone got any research that shows otherwise – after eliminating stress factor, and allowing for folks that just need less – even much less sleep?  I’d be curious to see such – if any such research exists.  Anyway, I’m already over 50, and remain in quite good health – have been so essentially all my life, and, most all my adult life, I’ve probably been averaging around roughly 5 hrs. sleep per 24.

So, … how’d I end up at around 5 per 24 – and being able to do ongoing 4 per 24 fairly well.  Well, as I stated, at least for sleep, was normal/typical – at least through my teens and bit beyond.  A ways into college, though, I was testing/pushing some limits, to see what I could do, and reasonably do, etc.  So, anyway, first time I tried to see how little sleep I could get by on – in college – I found that, over “trial period” of about 3 days, that down around 5 hrs. sleep per 24 I was about falling asleep on my feet.  So, that seemed a practical “lower limit” – and fairly extreme one for me – at that time.  Anyway, by about a year or so later, though, I found I could push that all the way down to 4 hrs. per 24 on running average, at least “indefinitely” in theory – did it for about 30 days straight, and rather accurately tracking all my sleeping to see exactly how much sleep I did in fact get – and the average was right around 4 hours per 24 (though ranged significantly for any given 24 hrs., the average was also quite close to 4 per 24 if averaged over any period of 3 or more days).  Pushing/holding it to 4 per 24 wasn’t easy, though.  And I do significantly better with a 5 per 24 average.  At least at the time back then, holding it to around 4 per 24 was a bit tricky.  And no, didn’t do drugs or anything like that.  Key “tricky” bit with holding it to around 4 per 24 (at least then), was, since I was effectively at least somewhat sleep deprived all the time – and thus somewhat sleepy, to stay awake, I had to keep my mind going all the time that I was awake.  E.g. no resting of the mind while awake – had to keep thinking of something all the time to keep my head busy and occupied.  Why?  Because if head went idle, it would drift off into sleep.  So, “had” to keep it busy to stay awake – only exceptions being when I actually went to sleep.  Was also kind of interesting coming off that “experiment” of about 30 days at that time.  The “habit” established of essentially not letting head rest – to stay awake except when explicitly going to sleep, turns out that “habit” wasn’t a thing I could instantly switch off – it persisted for a while.  I think it took me about 3 days to quite fully stop doing that, and (re)adjust to “normal” (or normal for me) again.  However … I guestimate as matter of “conditioning” and that “testing” and pushing those limits back in college.  I’ve found that ever since then, I really just don’t need all that much sleep.  In my (approximately) mid-teens, I was more like 8+ hours, … 8, even 10 to 12 or so – when I could get away with it.  Could use all that sleep fine, didn’t get groggy.  But that all changed, mostly slowly, other than some explicit “experiments”, somewhat into high school, but much more so when I went away to college.

Other interesting sleep bit with me.  How long – continuously – can I stay up?  Not all that long, really.   Sure, I’ve done many all-nighters.  No big deal.  But, I’ve never made it up 48 hours (or more) straight.  Somewhere around 36 (to perhaps as high as 40?  Haven’t tracked all that closely) hours, I quite “hit the wall”, and just cannot stay up.  Haven’t really “experimented”/tested pushing that limit much, … and don’t really care to, as it’s not particularly pleasant/fun at all.  Perhaps if/when there ever were extreme need for such, … whatever, but otherwise, … I think no thanks, I’ll pass on that one.

Other interesting sleep bits/history with me.  :-)

Sleepwalking.  Yup, once upon a time did that fair bit, and fairly regularly.  Most notably under conditions of extreme psychological(/psychiatric?) stress.  Pretty interesting and fascinating.  I didn’t even know, at all, that I’d been doing it.  It was a damn good – and quite intelligent – friend of mine, that figured it out.  So, among all the sleepwalking bits, and it was many years ago – never since or before – that was in the 1983–1984 timeframe, some quite fascinating stuff.  So, some key bits of what happened then, and with the sleepwalking (certainly not going to detail everything).  Most all, if not all that sleepwalking, was done with eyes open.  Not only that, but much of the sleepwalking involved pretty advanced tasks, and long (multi-hour) excursions outside of my domicile – and most commonly in the middle of the night – though sometimes too in daytime (my sleep patterns were also generally pretty messed up in that particular timeframe).   So, e.g. I would go for a walk, or bicycle ride, for up to hours or so, and including negotiating signals and non-trival amounts of traffic, over miles, even many miles or more, and without any incidents of note – nothing like crashing into anything, or getting run over, or even any particularly close calls.  All, amazingly, while asleep.  And, dreams, … talk about a way to get some really messed up memories impressed into one’s head.  Think of how strange, odd, and bizarre dreams can often – even commonly – be.  Now, think too of clear-as-day reality – walking around with one’s eyes open – hardly dream like at all in the perceptions when one is awake, right?  Well, mix together the clear-as-day perceptions (eyes open, after all – not at all dream-like in perceptions), and add to and mix in with that all the oddness of dreams and a dreaming mind.  And, one ends up with dreams, so incredibly real in their appearance – uber crisp, clear, detailed, that, … well, one would certainly not think, believe, or even really so much as suspect they were dreams, but rather reality.  Uhm, … except for the fact that they were “impossible” – could not possibly have occurred – e.g. violated various laws of physics relatively common, and other stuff that just plain could not have occurred.  Yet the memory was that such did occur – as there was clear, plain-as-day (eyes open, including some in fact in daytime) recollection of “exactly what one observed” – or, … so one thought such was the case.  And, … the answer to that impossible irreconcilable riddle/puzzle – of highly clear memories clear-as-day of the “impossible” – sleepwalking … with eyes open, and even including sometimes during broad daylight.  So, yes, the memory impressions for such were quite the mix of clear-as-day (as sometimes it even was day) observations/memories, with all the oddness and impossible happenings of dreams.  Anyway, it was a very good – and quite intelligent – friend of mine, way back then, that, just based upon my descriptions over phone call(s), that quite figured it out, and told me very directly, “You’ve been sleepwalking.”  Bingo!  That was it.  Almost instantly it all made sense.  And with that, also, I think it quite the case, realizing consciously, the hazards/dangers, that my subconscious also immediately picked up on that, and “instantly” shut that down cold – never at all any sleepwalking whatsoever since that day.  Other interesting bits with/about the sleepwalking.  I could, at least sometimes, and quite did, often transition quite seamlessly from awake, to sleepwalking, or vice versa.  Typical sequence/scenario might be from awake, but relatively relaxed, almost trance-like state, transitioning into dream – and then (if not immediately) sleepwalking.   And in the other direction, from sleepwalking, slowly transitioning into more contemplative wakeful state and on to fully awake.  Anyway, uhm, “interesting” times.  Learned a whole helluva lot.  Wouldn’t want to have missed out on all I learned – even if I could have skipped all the bad/painful, I wouldn’t skip all that pain to give up what I learned.  But also, I sure wouldn’t want to repeat anything like that again.

Narcolepsy?  What is it, and do I have it?  Well, secondly, I probably do have a slight/weak case of narcolepsy.  And firstly, what it is.  Most notably, it’s probably not – or at least not for the most part – what you think it is.  Heck, upon learning fair bit more about it, I certainly found out it, at least for the most part, wasn’t very close to what I thought it was.  So, narcolepsy – what does one think of?  Folks falling asleep – suddenly, without warning, in, e.g. middle of the day, and not for any lack of sleep.  Well, that certainly can be an example of narcolepsy.  But, it’s far from an accurate or complete descriptor.  Relatively generically, but not particularly at all accurately or completely, narcolepsy can be thought of and described as: “excessive daytime sleepiness”.  Namely person is rather to quite tired/sleepy during the day, even when they get quite ample sleep at night.  But that’s not a particularly full and accurate description either.  More specifically and accurately, and part that’s used in clinically diagnosing and confirming narcolepsy, is it is a very particular sleep disorder/disturbance.  “When tested, people with narcolepsy fall asleep rapidly, enter REM sleep early, and may awaken often during the night.” “In narcolepsy, the order and length of NREM and REM sleep periods are disturbed, with REM sleep occurring at sleep onset instead of after a period of NREM sleep. Thus, narcolepsy is a disorder in which REM sleep appears at an abnormal time.”  Anyway, I very definitely, transition highly quickly and regularly, when going to sleep or waking up, from wakefulness to REM sleep and back to awake – sometimes in as little as 5 minutes or less.  Anyway, among other sources, Wikipedia has a quite good entry on narcolepsy.  Fortunately, I don’t have all that much of a problem with falling asleep when I don’t want to or shouldn’t.  E.g. I’m not going to be falling asleep while driving and smacking into anyone or anything.  Most notably, if I’m moving at all – driving is more than enough, but likewise, e.g. walking, eating, even relatively minor movements, I don’t fall asleep while I’m moving (notwithstanding a period of sleepwalking in 1983 and/or 1984).  For me to fall asleep, I need to be quite still – e.g lying down, or sitting quite highly still.  Otherwise it just doesn’t happen – certainly at least in any narcolepsy manner.  But, if I’m sitting very still – say reading something, a meeting that’s just not engaging me and holding my attention, or watching a video that likewise just isn’t engaging me, I can slip off into sleep, and sometimes briefly happens, and regardless of how many hours sleep I’ve had earlier (e.g. 1o to 12 or more hours sleep earlier, even over multiple days, and it’ll still happen).  So, yes, most likely at least some narcolepsy going on there, but, problematic?  Not especially.  If/when my attention slips away like that and/or I sleep suddenly like that, it’s generally very short (e.g. 30 seconds or less).  And yes, I can go from awake to REM and back very quickly … not only definitely in well under 5 minutes, but perhaps as short as 30 seconds?  I think it’s always been the case that my attention would slip off.  E.g., even as young as 9 or 8 years of age, teacher would call upon me, I wouldn’t know what was going on, teacher suspected maybe I had hearing problem, got additional testing on that – nope, hearing fine.  No, rather, if it didn’t sufficiently hold my attention, my head would wander elsewhere.  Sometimes even happens when I’m quite trying to pay attention, but not as much then, but again, how engaging the material is makes a big, if not huge, difference.  Regardless, though, it’s at least semi-random.  Even when quite engaged, interested, wanting to and trying to pay attention, and regardless of how much sleep I’ve gotten, sometimes attention slips off.  And sometimes slight bit of sleep can slip/sneak in.  But again, does not happen if I’m moving – even in quite slight bit (e.g. chewing, eating, walking, driving, talking, …).  Maybe best to keep a move on ;-) … well, at least as feasible and where it might otherwise be problematic.

Heh, and one of the things that will most quickly cause me to drift off?  Reading my own writing – especially to repeatedly edit such.  My head tends to jump to and presume what I intended to communicate, rather than what I actually wrote.  It also tends to get very bored very quickly, as it generally already quite knows what I intended to communicate, and usually is pretty uninterested in reading – especially repeatedly, some close approximation thereof, so, … that can often put me out like a light real fast.  So, yet another reason/excuse why I often don’t do much more, and a much better job of, editing my own writing.  It can take a lot of time for me to do so, and be a very slow process, as, among other things, often my attention highly repeatedly slips away from reading what I actually wrote, and sometimes and not too uncommonly, will tend to put me quite to sleep (even if the writing might itself be quite exciting … not so to my head, being already quite familiar with the originating source).  So, yep, writing something out, once, for me, not all that horribly hard or time consuming, relative to the volume.  But, reviewing and editing it?  That tends to easily push the time up by a factor of 5 to 10 or more.  So, maybe somehow, I should still manage to learn how to write much better on the first pass, because those subsequent passes are highly inefficient for me.  Or maybe I need to be walking around while reading and/or editing my own writing. And yes, I fell asleep while reading and editing draft of this blog posting.

 

Friendship, relationship, am I ready?

2012-10-21 22:05:54 PDT

Friendship, relationship, am I ready?

What am I quite up for and really ready for?

Friendship?  Am I ready to find and forge those connections, and forge and grow them?  I still quite suck at making friends, e.g. group social situations, and managing to peel folks off from the group for more one-on-one conversations, etc.  So, definitely not (yet) highly adept at any and all issues surrounding friendship.  Probably need to also adjust my attitude a bit – generally.  “I suck at” really isn’t the best way to frame things – particularly towards improving them, and attitude towards self.  Should frame and think of it more as growth opportunity, rather than “I suck at”.  “Tremendous opportunity for growth” does at least sound a lot more positive than “I suck at”, eh?  So, sure, attitude does matter, and significantly so.  But that by itself does not ensure success.  In any case, friendship, sure, mostly very willing, able, capable, desiring and wanting to do and take that on.  So I may have some, er, “opportunities” to do better on the finding and starting friendships. But other than that, on friendships – ready, willing, interested, capable, etc.?  Sure, most definitely so – very highly so, even.  I’ve supported friends a whole helluva lot, and do care to do so.  Just ain’t got so much of that opportunity at present – in that I mostly lack the friends to so support and befriend.

Relationship?  Am I ready for that and quite up for it?  A more interesting question, and not quite as simple and straight-forward of an answer.  I think the short version answer to that is “yes” … but … a qualified yes, rather than an unconditional one.  Maybe best to “answer” by explaining what I’m not up for, and notwithstanding that, the answer is quite “yes”.  Wanting a relationship, craving a relationship, highly desiring to be in a good/excellent relationship – yes, highly so, no question about that.  Willing to do the work, time, effort, energy, attention, etc. for such – yes, very much so.  Willing to go to extremes, bend over backwards to … well, does quite depend.  Certainly not unhealthily so.  I’ll sure do a lot for that “right” relationship – but not or beyond the point of screwing myself over, or otherwise being quite unhealthy or otherwise just not good or at least reasonably fair to myself.  Doesn’t mean I can’t or wouldn’t put a lot into it – even in rather unbalanced manner so, e.g. quite a bit more than the other person.  But, not “too much” – for some definition of “too much”, which would depend on various subjective, practical, and some objective, criteria and conditions.  So, in what ways am I not ready, or possibly not ready?  Speed.  Not too fast.  Right – or at least sufficiently “right” pace is quite important.  And, with “right” person, that’s probably a non-issue.  “Too fast” is not good.  With “right person”, they’d be fine with not going faster than pace I was comfortable with.  “Too slow” – also not good.  I’m quite patient, etc., but if things stall for “way too long” (a rather subjective measure), that probably won’t work out either.  E.g. things mostly not progressing for years or more – having been through that – heck, … probably even e.g. many (6?) months or more, probably not going to work.  Not that it’s impossible or such, but, if the other person isn’t ready for a relationship, and ready to progress in and grow that, well, then the timing is probably too far off for them, and not the time for “us” to be starting a relationship.  If they’re ready to start at some other time, sure, that might be fine – but starting when they’re not (reasonably) ready, no, that’s not good, and probably wouldn’t fly.  Not that those particular “speed” bits are ready vs. not ready, but more so mostly what would and wouldn’t work with/for me – given life history to current and all that.  What about meeting women, social skills, “dating” and all that?  Uhm, … “I suck at” … er, … “incredible growth opportunity”.  Okay, so I’m not so great at (understatement) finding and approaching women.  So, … that cuts the prospects and probabilities way down.  But, once I make it to initial meeting – as in like “date” or similar (at least one-on-one), I think I do fairly well from there – not sure if there’s a whole helluva lot that could be improved there … or not.  Really not sure what such stats ought to look like, vs. what mine really quite are.  Possibly another “incredible growth opportunity” there … or not.  Probability I’ll ever make it to a “third date” or meeting or whatever, and beyond, is (always?) quite slim – but then again, probability any two people will be “that” compatible, is also quite low, so maybe that’s how it’d go even if my social/”dating” skills with women were highly optimal.  So, sure, not withstanding any deficits in social skills there, sure, yes, I’m “ready” on that count.  What about “ready” for what women want/expect/desire?  Well, I’m me.  If I’m not what they want, it’s not going to work anyway.  But, notwithstanding that … what about superficialities – accoutrements, etc.  You know, … chariot, castle, the finest and presentment in attire, etc.  Well, those things do matter, but … for the “right” person, they matter relatively little.  Really, if they’re interested in and attracted to my property, possessions, income, “wealth”, etc. and/or repelled by lack(s) thereof, that’s a major turn-off.  I want someone who’s interested in me and in me for who I am, not what I possess or bring to the table in economic or material resources/possessions.  So, how else, ready, interested, capable, lack of “baggage”, desirous, not (too) “needy”, etc?  Sure, I’d say quite ready.  Relative lack of “baggage” (none, or close to none?).  Desiring of relationship?  Oh sure, most and quite definitely.  Friends ‘n all that is great, really “need” that too – or sure as hell ought to quite have good friends too – beyond and in addition to any great relationship (something I’ve at least sometimes quite failed to do).  Needy, clingy, or too much so?  Naw, … I think that’s gotten fair bit better relatively recently.  Maybe it’s not so much that there’s something all that incredibly wonderful there in the friendship or relationship realm, but oddly, yet importantly, perhaps much more so, some hope and possibilities.  I think that cuts way down on the “desperation” factor – which tends to be decidedly unattractive – at least to most.  Maybe too, getting more “settled” mostly with neither friend(s) nor relationship, well, that also cuts down on the “desperation” – even if the situation is far from ideal.  Am I “okay” with being single?  Yeah, I guess, sure, … at least with some friend(s) – or reasonable potential thereof – single is a lot more tolerable.  Yeah, sure, rather sucks, far from ideal, but … “okay”, even if kind’a marginally so.  Heck, thus far spent more of my adult life as single, than not, and even when not single, most all of that has been living apart.  Never actually really did cohabitate – as in actually moved in together.  Not to trivialize, at all, living in same place for months or more, but not having “moved in together”, it’s still short of cohabitation.  So, … I damn well ought to be “okay” with single and living alone – even if it’s definitely not my preferred state.

So, sure, “ready”, or at least mostly and generally “ready”, or “ready enough”.  Certainly not ideal, but what ever is?

conflicts, and contradictions – advice, etc. – welcome to being human – ugh!

2012-10-17 06:53:32 PDT

So, no shortage of highly – or at least quite apparently – contradicting “advice” and the like. On what, where, how? Mostly on the social interaction stuff – making friends, meeting/connecting with women, etc.

So, some of the many quite typical examples. Some/many of which come from rather to highly trusted/regarded source(s), in some cases much of rather to quite the same from multiple – even numerous sources.

  • be all these things you’re (often/typically/sometimes) not
    • be happy/cheerful/positive
    • have multiple friends, and esecially have them around you when you go out
    • be bold
    • be assertive
    • be confident
    • don’t be shy
    • speak clearly and rather loudly – enough to always be clearly heard, never mumble, everyone you intend to have hear you should always hear you and clearly so
    • dress to kill, not just “good”, but bump it up several notches
    • be comfortable
    • be relaxed
    • make eye contact
    • don’t get distracted
    • don’t hesitate
    • don’t mess it up
    • learn and know peoples’ names well and almost always refer to people by their names
    • stand out from the crowd – in positive ways
    • put yourself out there more – say more, risk more, tell more about yourself, go (well) beyond idle chit-chat and what’s “safe”
    • try harder
    • shut the hell up – don’t say/talk so much, listen, be quiet, nobody really wants to hear about you anyway, don’t talk about your personal stuff, nobody cares
    • don’t try so hard!
    • lie, don’t be so truthful; lie a lot if need be – most of the time people don’t want to hear the truth
  • And above all, be yourself

Oy, what a mess, eh?

Happy, cheerful? Positive? Eh, my mood varies. Typically in relatively neutral (to slightly positive) territory, give or take a bit. And more likely to be relatively down if I feel rather to quite alone, lonely, isolated, etc. Buggers, eh? So, … to better meet/connect with more people, be happy/cheerful – as if I already had those connections I’m trying to make. Doesn’t exactly work very well that way, huh? Fake it? Oh, I rather suck at that. How I actually feel tends to leak/bleed through enough, faking it will generally tend to more so backfire than not – tends to mostly just make things worse. I’ll give a random example that illustrates that and a couple other points.

Multiple friends? Go out with them together? I barely have any friends, let alone multiple friends.  (My 50th birthday, how many friends and family members did I spend it with?  Okay, on that day, how many people did I see or meet with at all, that I actually even know at all?  Yeah, zero – precisely and exactly zero.)  And I’ve never been the gregarious type. I don’t generally even like going out and hanging with a bunch of people – even if they’re friends. And for the most part, probably most all the friends I’ve ever had, have also not been the gregarious type. So, me hangin’ with a bunch of friends on any kind of regular or frequent basis – if at all – and having a good time at it at that – just generally not a fit for me – or for that matter really most or all of any friends I’ve ever had – and maybe the case for most or all friends I ever even will have. Multiple friends. Egad. Yeah. Right. Rather recently passed my 50th birthday. How many folks did I hear from on that day? Four. Four people on the whole planet contacted me – and half of those in the immediate family or friend of family cohabitating with same. So, yeah, only 1/3 (grand total of 1) of immediate family even contacted me on my 50th birthday, one person living with same did (probably more of expectation/”obligation” than not), and 2 that I could count as friends (or closest I’ve got to such). That was it. Nobody else, at all. And zero of them in person – at least on that day (but hey, at least one within a couple days – that was quite nice at least). Yeah, right, go out with bunch of friends together as a group.  Sure. I’ve so few friends (or better, even relationships), that most of ’em have never met any of the others, and if so exceedingly rarely so – e.g. like maybe once, and never more than that, and not even meeting all of them – at most, maybe over half or so. Damn, I’m still trying to even make it up to so much as one really quite good friend (or better) … been trying hard for well over a year now, and still not there yet (maybe sort’a kind’a close with one? … yet at the same time also highly not with that same one – and closer to a year than not, that I’ve known that person – and certainly no shortage of effort/trying there).

Assertive? Confident? I tend to be a lot more tentative, and not pushy. Confident? Certainly not overly so. Confidence level varies a lot – probably depends upon what I’m talking about and also context – e.g. to who. Generally speaking, I’m not that big/high on confidence levels – and too much doesn’t serve me well – certainly don’t need over-inflated ego – tends to come off as arrogant – e.g. often whenever my confidence/ego is running on the (too) high side.

Don’t be shy? Uhm, … but I am. I can sort’a kind’a fake not being shy … to some extent – at least moderately, … but much more than that and it tends to horribly backfire. Like coming off as a bumbling nervous non-shy tends to work a lot less than coming off as rather shy.  Or, I come off as far too babbling/talkative/rambling – that also tends to work out quite not well.

Speak clearly/loudly. My voice just isn’t that loud. Perhaps in part because I just don’t exercise it that much (can easily go a week with negligible occasions to speak at all, let alone have a dialog/conversation, and often days or more when I have precisely no occasion to so much as utter a single word), but regardless, is what it is – my voice is not that loud – don’t think it ever has been. And I’m more likely to speak yet more softly if I’m not as or so confident about what I’m saying or asking or whatever, or even just as generally sure about it or whatever. Also, the longer I talk, the weaker my voice gets. So, yeah, e.g. half hour or more talking at what is, even for me, relatively moderate volume, my voice gets weaker. Want to have me give some technical talk to a bunch ‘o folks? Sure, I can do that but better have a PA system or the like, or in short order, only about a half dozen or so folks, at most, sitting quite close, and if they and the environment are rather to quite quiet, are going to manage to hear most or all of what I say.

Dress to kill, blah, blah. I mostly dress for comfort and functionality. Not (generally) like a slob, but I don’t especially dress up all that much – and mostly tend to be rather to quite uncomfortable when I do. Random example – went to interview, in suit – typically do for interview. Got call back, they wanted 2nd interview – I think next day after they called back – very shortly anyway. I basically said, I could, but alas, my suit was at the cleaners and wouldn’t be ready by then. They said, no matter, that’s fine. So I went for 2nd interview. One of the very first remarks I got? “Ah, you look much more comfortable.” Duh! Probably because I was much more comfortable not stuck in suit. And yes, they made me the job offer following that 2nd interview. So, yeah, I can dress reasonably nice, and generally do as relatively appropriate to/for the occasion. But, … much more than that, and I’m going to feel rather to quite uncomfortable, and it’s generally going to rather to quite show. So generally speaking, I don’t think that serves me well – particularly for social occasions – at least in general, or going to meet or hoping to meet folks.

Be comfortable / be relaxed. Well, I am, or I’m not – mostly depends on circumstances. It’s not like there’s generally a whole lot about it I can do to be/feel more comfortable when I’m not comfortable. Often, e.g. it’s how much I don’t know the folks I’m meeting or interacting with and/or just don’t know ’em enough to trust them, or trust them that much. That’s going to rather to quite limit how comfortable I can be – especially in regards to what we might be or potentially be talking about. I tend to come/be relatively relaxed, but a whole lot of that quite depends upon circumstances, interactions, expectations, etc.

Make eye contact. Yeah, I rather suck at that. Attempting to work on and improve that, but we’ll see how that goes. Probably the biggest problem I have there – and interrelates into some other problems – I tend to get highly distracted watching or looking at folks as I talk to them. E.g. if I look at someone as I’m talking to them, and their facial expression changes or they move or whatever, it tends to distract me and I often lose my train of thought, often quite entirely. I don’t know why that is, but it is. Self-consciousness? Perhaps, or perhaps in part, but I don’t think so – at least not mostly or primarily. Much/most of the time I think I’m rather to highly unconcerned with their reactions to or what they think of or about what I’m saying. But even when that’s highly the case, I find any reactions or motion or movement highly distracting, and it tends to rather to totally blow my train of thought. So, yeah, a whole lot of the time when talking to folks – even just a single individual one-on-one, I don’t look at them – certainly at least not as I’m talking. Whole heck of a lot easier for me to talk on/about whatever, when I’m not looking at someone. If I’m looking at ’em, and they so much as blink or flinch, I tend to get distracted by the movement or change, and quite forget what I was saying or attempting to say. So, … not really sure how to improve that or what that does or would take. I’m trying to at least occasionally glance at ’em as an improvement when I’m talking to ’em … we’ll see how well that goes, and if I can manage to without getting distracted and totally losing my train of thought.  I seem to do okay(ish) on eye contact when I’m not talking or attempting to talk. At least as far as I know, anyway. Not 100% sure on that, though.

Don’t get distracted. Uhm, yeah, if nobody blinked or moved at all – even in the slightest change of expression, that would be much easier for me. So, … how do I not get distracted by what distracts me? Or is that an oxymoronic question? Certainly that’s not all that distracts me, but probably the most notable in social context. Other conversations, motions, sounds, etc. will distract me too. Some more than others, … some quite break my concentration / train of thought … others not so much so or not nearly as commonly. Random chatter will often rather to quite break my flow of thought / concentration. Sometimes just various stuff bouncing around in my head is more than enough to distract and break my concentration or train of thought, and sometimes(/often?) such that I totally lose that train of thought … at least for a significant while, often at minimum.

Don’t hesitate. I tend to hesitate, … a lot. Often thinking and rethinking possibilities before acting or saying. In a whole lot of regards, that tends to work better – e.g. what’s done, or said, much better and/or more appropriate. But definitely has its significant/major downsides too. Namely untimely. Too late, and, well, it often just doesn’t fit, or doesn’t fit anymore – the conversation has moved on, or the opportunity has passed, or optimal timing on the opportunity has (long since) passed – even if that’s only 3 or 5 or 10 or 15 or 60 seconds, … just too late, in many cases. And, if/when I don’t hesitate, it often not only comes out in sub-optimal form, but often rather to quite a mess – e.g. fails miserably, as not coming off as intended, or as something better left unsaid, or done differently than it was – or better not done at all, or just comes out way too awkward and/or incomplete – really just a “half-baked” thought – and it shows.

Don’t mess it up. Uhm, yeah, right. And be spontaneous and don’t hesitate? Uhm, … you’re talking about someone else, right, not me? Doesn’t work for me. Might maybe work better if I was rather to quite adept at the quick recovery, but if I screw it up, I don’t exactly manage to come up with some quick way to “fix” and/or recover from that. Heck, I might not even notice or know I messed it up until it’s rather to quite too late.

Names. I quite suck at remembering names – especially more common first names. Heck, sometimes I’m surprised I even remember and respond to my own name. Uhm, yeah, if someone addresses me as “Mike” instead of “Michael”, I may often quite not even notice they’re attempting to address me. There is a reason I always introduce myself as “Michael”, and never as “Mike”. Regardless, some folks will start addressing me as “Mike” despite that (okay, maybe they too suck at names or whatever). But I digress. Yes, I quite suck at remembering names. I’m much better at remembering less common names, e.g. last names, than first names. Many folks I know I can’t think of their first names until I recall their last names – then I can recall their first names. Unfortunately many environments – especially social – put lots more emphasis on first names – and often don’t even make mention of last names. Heck, even folks I know rather to quite well I often have difficulty recalling their names – and that tends to be worse under stress (like actually trying to say “hi” to them or get their attention, especially on-the-fly). Yeah, someone can introduce themselves to me and start talking with me – 30 seconds into the conversation I won’t remember their name, or I’ll be highly unsure of it. And I’ll typically mostly avoid addressing folks by name. Not only because I often don’t recall the name – certainly at least quickly, but because too, I’ll often recall it incorrectly – particularly if I do it quickly and don’t try to at least double-check myself on it first. E.g. random example. Small (like way under half a dozen) close work group at work, been working with most of all the same folks in that group well over 4 years. Go to quickly address one of ’em that I’ve been working with for over 4 years by name without bothering to think a bit carefully about it first, and I totally blow it, using name of another peer (who wasn’t even in the vicinity at the time, and who I’ve also been working with for over 4 years) rather than the one I intended to address. So, yeah, I often try to not use names, if/when/as I can manage to get away with it – sure, often rather/somewhat awkward, but less so than very obviously failing to recall their name, or worse yet call them by someone else’s name – ugh. Maybe that’s also yet another reason I quite prefer one-on-one. Mostly don’t need to use name in that context, as who one is addressing is generally quite clear in that context – at least most all the time.

Random example – be happy/cheerful/positive (or fake it), don’t hesitate. So, run across relatively new neighbor I barely know at all (can’t hardly remember name – messed it up the first time I tried to recall it when encountering neighbor – still can’t remember it off-the-top-of-my-head, but I did note it, so at least I can look it up and refer to it). Anyway, I basically say something like, “Hi, how’s it going?” And neighbor rattles on a bit about how she’s doing/feeling, what she’s been up to to, then wraps up with something quite like, “And how are you?” And I, quite instinctively respond with “Fine, thanks, how are you?” And she starts awkwardly responding and telling me a bit more, but mostly redundantly, about how she’s doing, as I realize, no f*cking way am I particularly close to “fine”, quite feel like crud really, and not only did I quite lie rather unintentionally, but totally stupidly and redundantly with my “how are you?” rather identically again, … and didn’t at all catch it fast enough to “recover” – way too late for an “oops, I just asked you that” – she was long into repeating herself before I realized I’d done that. So, already looking quite stuid on it, I essentially just played dumb as if I’d not even noticed my highly redundant questioning (and her awkwardness to it). And somehow just awkwardly wrapped up from that, and moved on (literally away from her). So, … don’t hesitate – yeah, like not hesitating and reacting instinctively did me a lot of good there, ugh, … not! Fake it? Oh, like my “fine”, and instantly turning it around served me (or her) well? Nope, fail. Maybe not give her all the gory details of how crudy and why, but geez, could’a been at least a fair bit more truthful and genuine, e.g. maybe something like, “Oh, … been better, but hangin’ in there, … things will get better.”. But, nope, didn’t hesitate, didn’t really think it through at all. And yes, did mess it up! – Quite so. Ugh. And no, I couldn’t remember her name from earlier – even though she’d told me at least twice before. Heck, still can’t remember it, though I’ve reviewed it probably at least a half dozen times, if not at least a dozen times or more. I can remember the first letter of her first name, and the names of her cats that she’s told me, but her name? No, can’t remember.

Stand out from the crowd in positive ways.  For the most part, I really don’t want to stand out – positively or negatively.  I prefer to do good, be the best I can be, etc., as feasible, but without drawing the attention to myself.  So, “stand out from the crowd” – particular in ways (easily) noticed – I tend to quite not want to do that, tends to generally go against my nature, desires, philosophy, etc.

Put myself out there more.  Yeah, that’s a hard one, in multiple ways.  E.g. being more “exposed”, putting out more personal stuff, etc.  Rather to quite hard to do that, without being rather to quite comfortable (and trusting of, and justifiably so) of the person(s) I’m putting such out to and sharing such with.  Also, just hard to generally be/get out there – more social interaction, more folks, etc.  I really just don’t “do” group social situations well or generally feel comfortable or particularly comfortable with them.  Alas, rather a Catch-22.  Do kind’a rather need to be more “exposed”, put more personal stuff out there – if nothing else, to put out there as “feelers” – better feel/judge reactions, figure out who I am and/or can rather to quite be comfortable with – quite a bit harder to figure that out if I put “nothing” out there, or nothing of more significant/substantial “substance” (and “risk” – at least some).  And do need to work on and improve the (especially group) social interactions and such.  Though I do much better (and more comfortably) at one-on-one, whole lot of (perhaps most, or maybe even nearly all?) one-on-one opportunities come via, or generally would come via, group social interactions – if I’m in fact doing – and more notably better doing the group social interactions.  So, yeah, I really need to improve and keep working on those things.  Find ways to better put myself “out there” more – both risking/exposing more (in reasonably tolerable and appropriate ways), and just being out there more socially – most notably group social situations/interactions.

Try harder.  Well, really not only that, but more notably, need to (also) do so more effectively.  Sometimes trying too hard can backfire – sometimes even rather horribly so.  Anyway, need to keep working on that – try harder – and do more, but even more notably, do it more effectively.  So, … need to work very much on not only how much, when, where, etc., but also how.  Certainly some ways will be much better than others – and I still need to much better figure out and better optimize what works, and works well, and burn lots less time/energy/attention/stress/etc. on what doesn’t work, or is (mostly) comparatively ineffective.

Shut the hell up.  And talk more.  Huh?  Yeah, right … really.  I need to much better know when to stop, slow down, etc. – how to react.  And also put more out there, say more, risk/expose more.  Seems quite a whole lot is mostly either (far) too little (saying nothing at all or little of substance, too slow, too shy, too hesitant, etc.), or … too much!  Get going and ramble/babble on, much beyond what most want/wish to hear or can reasonably follow and best appreciate.  So, gotta get those “levels” right – and much better adjust optimal for timing/situation/circumstances, reactions, and how those reactions go/change/evolve along the way.  Need to “listen” (much) better – but more notably pick up a whole lot better on the feedback/reactions in general – and not just the words – intonation, body language, expressions, etc.  All that’s communicated in the many various ways.

Don’t try so hard.  Yeah, pushing/trying too hard can backfire, in numerous ways.  Need the “just right” approach/levels … or at least something fairly close to that … or … whole helluva lot closer than I’ve been doing, anyway.

Lie.  Egad.  Uhm, yeah, that does not work for me!  Again, quite goes against my nature, philosophy, objectives, etc.  However, even within the bounds of being truthful / not lying, I could do much better there!  Truth / not lying is one thing, however, I can be highly selective about what truths I tell, how much, how, etc., and what I don’t say.  E.g. I’m pretty darn adept at that for matters such as protecting the privacy of others.  I need to learn how to much better do that “for myself” … not so much “for myself” per se, but more so to optimize interactions and connections for anyone I’m communicating with.  E.g. what’s optimal, and even what they do and likely may most prefer, is often not going to be absolute total unfiltered unreserved truth about anything and everything about me.  Often folks just don’t want to know that much – or at least start out with so much truth, directness, and lack of withholding or of holding (hardly) anything back.  So, need to learn to much better optimize that for the most beneficial net overall results.  After all, it’s not just me that benefits from such, and there’s not just the short term, but also the much longer term – and getting to those results that is also quite to highly important.  So, need to work that whole “process” much better, and, to get and feel highly comfortable with it – e.g. to not feel that I’m “holding back too much when I shouldn’t”.  Really need to much better optimize how I’m “dosing”/exposing someone to me – how much, what, how fast, etc.  Maybe much more so of a “kinder, gentler introduction”.  So, … more initially (at least quite enough to reasonably get things going – but not too much), but then also, not too much, too deep, too detailed, too direct/raw and unrestrained truths – especially too fast … work that at a more measured/”controlled”/reasonable pacing, and adjusting as appropriate at every step along the way.  Lie.  No.  I mostly quite refuse to lie – and also rather/quite suck at it.  Instead, really need to optimize the flow of truth.  E.g. avoid the drinking from the firehose dispensing method.  All, or too much at once – highly sub-optimal.  Not lies, no, don’t do that.  But, much more carefully measured doses/rates and “control of flow”.

Be yourself.  Yeah, rather/quite/highly important.  Be positive, when feeling (highly) negative, be truthful (don’t) lie, etc., etc.  A lot of complex and (apparently?) contradicting pieces to simultaneously reconcile.  But, it can be done.  I’m human, after all, and humans are quite a mass of walking, talking, breathing, contradiction.  So, should somehow be able to at least fairly reasonably simultaneously manage all those contradictions – or apparently contradictions – and come out with something quite reasonable regardless – and even rather to highly optimize that for the best obtainable results.  Okay, quite the challenge, and much easier said than done.  But it is possible, thus it can be done, so, … I best get working on it – at least as and to the extent feasible.

The bar “experiment”

2012-10-01 01:15:25 PDT

So, not going to mention exactly when and where, but some week(s)/month(s) back, went to a “bar” of sorts. Bar, full bar, bar in restaurant, brew pub, bar in club, … whatever, I’ll just call it “bar” here. And that was before I posted my alcohol, etc. blog posting. Not that my “bar” experiment significantly (or even at all?) altered my perspective and take on alcohol, etc. So, the bar “experiment” …

Went to bar. I forget for sure what day of the week it was … almost certainly it was a Saturday night. I don’t drink. Whatever, they also serve non-alcoholic beverages – possible in essentially any bar or the like. At least the bars here in California are non-smoking, and have been for quite a while now – compliance varies, but most are very to quite good on that, including this one I went to.

So, … interactions, etc., and potential opportunities thereof? I went, it was fairly crowded, but not (quite?) overly so? The place had quite a number of tables, and space around bar proper. Could have gotten spot at table (possibly with short wait), but that didn’t seem too useful – I came by myself. Sitting alone at table didn’t seem useful way to attempt some more interaction, so I hung out around the bar proper. Was relatively crowded there – most of the seating around the bar occupied. Whatever, got myself a non-alcoholic beverage, and basically hung out.

So, … how did it go? Eh, … eh, tolerable enough, but …
So, … who was interacting with whom, when, where, how? Who was even bothering to look or look around and notice, me, and/or anything or anyone else? Perhaps matter of the venue and the time, but …
Essentially everyone was already “grouped up”. Highly so. Every table, 2 or more persons there, and quite highly not interacting with anyone else – no looks, no glances, no getting up and moving about. Quite nothing – and very much so. Likewise at the bar – pairs or more folks, quite each in their own little world of group, negligible to zero interaction with anyone else. And really, I did watch and look around quite carefully. Just about the only movement among tables, other than when folks arrived, or left, was waitstaff moving among tables. Really, that was quite it, or so close to it as to not even spot any deviation thereof. Maybe a rare trip to restroom as exception, but even then, really quite no interaction at all with anyone else. I forget precisely how I timed it, but had many hours free, didn’t want to spend it all hanging at that bar the whole time, so planned it kind’a around something else to do and break it up in the middle. So, was there roughly an hour or two. Then left. Then came back again – roughly 3 hours later, and stayed for about another hour or two – until closing … was probably there at least 90 minutes anyway on the 2nd visit. On the return visit, it had thinned out a lot more. But really, again, quite negligible interaction going on – at least outside or beyond each “group” that had come there. Only exception I saw were two groups of apparently young twenty-somethings. And the only interaction I saw between those two groups (one of guys, and one of gals), was, well, quite juvenile. Oh really, and how were these guys getting the attention of the gals there? Squirt guns. See a girl you wanna flirt with? Hit her with a squirt gun … but do it – at least often – stealthily – create nice big cold wet spot, then laugh and tease. Yeah, I don’t think that would’a worked well at all for me, especially at then 49. Maybe at a young twenty-something I might’ve been able to get away with it. Maybe the only reason these women tolerated it at all is because perhaps they already rather to quite knew these guys anyway. Regardless, that was pretty much all I saw happening at all in the way of interaction. Heck, for the most part, was never anyone even looking around or so much as glancing around, checking out the “scene” or other folks, or really anything … all quite each to their own little pair or group – notwithstanding squirt gun related interactions. And damn near nobody there by themselves at all. Did see one woman come in by herself. But she never even so much as looked around. I was by bar. She came in, sat at bar, ordered her adult beverage, read her book, and left. Don’t think she ever even so much as saw me or looked around at all. Other than slight interaction with persons working there, was almost none at all for me in the slightest. One guy there who appears to be a quite “regular” said hello to me, but really that was about it.

Anyway, perhaps just not the venue for meeting folks – at least for meeting anyone you haven’t already communicated with and quite specifically planned and arranged to meet there. Really, I don’t think anyone there met anyone they hadn’t already at least communicated with – or perhaps was part of some group where they already knew at least one person in that group. And that was over a total of at least 3, probably as much as 4 or up to 5 hours total of hanging out and observing there (and attempting to interact, had any semi-reasonable opportunity presented itself).

Anyway, at least that experiment, pretty much a waste (other than “learning” experience) … at least for that venue and that time, anyway. Not a bad place to hang out – even has some at least half-way decent “pub grub” kind’a food (better than many “bars” or the like). But, going there to try to meet folks? Sure as hell not at that time, and maybe not even ever at that place.

And, on the way home – did walk by another bar that had just closed. Some folks still talking outside, bits of conversation like, “Nice meeting you” along with an exchange of contact information. Maybe a much more possible/useful venue, had I tried there instead. But then again, maybe not. Haven’t tried that other one yet, but every time I’ve been by it and peeked a bit, seems to be almost exclusively a twenty-something crowd (maybe some youngish thirty-somethings in the mix? – even if so, seems much more the exception than the rule at that place). Also, there’s almost nothing to do at that particular place besides drink (they’ve got like one other thing that can notably be done there) – at least the venue I did try had some other stuff there to make it not so totally sucky (notably more than just a place to drink and with nothing else to do or see at the venue … well, other than theoretically interact with some other folks).

So, “bar”s or the like? I don’t hold out much hope of any useful meetings of folks there – certainly any non-prearranged meetings with person(s) I’ve not even communicated with before. And especially since I don’t drink – don’t even really particularly care to be around alcohol.

And besides, … of all the good successful relationships I’ve ever known – and I don’t just mean me, but anyone I’ve ever known. How many of them first met in a bar? Of all I know? Zero. (Or if maybe any of ’em have, they don’t want to admit it, and use some other story instead?). And, as someone else (sort’a “friend”) put it to me (paraphrasing from memory): “Bars? Only thing I’ve ever known anyone to pick up from there, are diseases and problems.”

So, maybe try some other bar venue(s), or not. Relatively far down on my list of places to try – seems rather to quite improbable anyway. Thus far several hours there, and not for lack of trying, conversations with other than staff there, one “hello” from some apparently regular guy there. Other than that, not so much as anybody even bothering to look around or notice anyone else there, beyond whatever person or group they came with … notwithstanding some going-on-14 very juvenile behavior – that I’m sure would not serve me well.