Friday, June 21, 2013

Chant my name.

Over the last year or so Saturday became a regular work day for me. I catch up on projects I'm behind on, do laundry, answer emails I missed, maybe go through the recordings on my DVR, but I never go out anymore. And I don't wander through the city looking for adventures. All through law school Saturday was the one day I looked forward to. The places I would go to, the people I'd meet. The music, dancing, the fun. There was something about Gainesville establishments four, five years ago that I don't get from all those new places that opened since. You could breathe in the atmosphere and let your hair down. Perhaps it's how much older I've gotten. Maybe it's how Gainesville felt like my town, with my hangouts and faces I liked. Maybe it's simply  how these days I go to the same venues and to the same tired old places, with the same people by my side. Last Saturday I decided to go out. By myself.  I used to really enjoy it. Get into a few of those bars and pubs and not even drink - but just to get a feel for the crowd. I made four stops just walking around.  Market Street, one of my favorite places reopened as The Library For a minute, with the folk band playing it felt like old times. But that feeling was short lived. The bartender thought that I was in the way in my wheelchair, so after being told to position myself in the corner to be out of it, I decided to leave. I visited friends working at a cafe catering to  hipsters and although they tried hard to include me- getting the lift to take me to the second floor I couldn't find my place. Yet, for a few moments it was different and fun.

Then I ended up at the local Piano Bar. One of the musicians noticed me in the crowd, called  my name and asked me to raise my hand. Then he introduced me as his attorney. I didn't really help him with anything- I never took him on as a client, he only asked me to explain what a particular procedure looks like. I was happy to discuss it in an abstract. Not everything really requires an attorney to get involved anyway. He then continued to talk about whatever happened to him on the microphone with no way for me to stop him. Thanking me time and again, he raised the glass and urged the crowd to look me up and hire me as an attorney. They were cheering my name and asking for my business cards, which I was freshly out of. I was not expecting to be in the spotlight and I didn't come prepared. I was planning for a slow night. But whatever I did and said to put his mind at ease gave him enough of a confidence and knowledge  to face what he was going through alone. A nice intermission - being called out by a  man on the stage gave me a good feeling that I  did something meaningful. Something that again mattered to someone. And that I was fitting in... And again it made me think about how being kind, considerate, firm and competent gets me respect and gratitude.  Perhaps I do belong here, maybe I can forge my path and find my spot. Whenever I think I'm too old to be in Gainesville, that I overstayed my welcome  I'll think of moments like this to remind me that what I do and where I do it is not a waste of time. Where else would I find those crazy, energetic, loving people that chanted my name like I was some kind of a rockstar?

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