Day Off

Yes, it’s Thursday. Been a while since I wrote, so I figured I owed one or two. The last few weeks at work have been a bit of a nightmare, so by the time Saturday rolls around, I don’t want to do anything. Actually, I had a whole post about that a while back.

Cincinnati Zoo
Seriously, leave me alone

Basically, I’m an introvert. Doesn’t mean I hate people, doesn’t mean I don’t want to go out, doesn’t mean I’m shy (although in this case, I actually am). What it does mean is hanging out with my friends, spending all day at work talking to people, spending time in the mall or at the laundromat or a restaurant, where I could be called on to speak to anyone at any moment (not actually a problem for me), is exhausting. I recharge when I’m alone, not talking to anyone, not seeing anyone, not even hanging out on Facebook, which, as we all know, is full of crack or chocolate or something. After a long, painful, week, when I’ve had to spend the entire day on the phone or in meetings, I need my time. Saturdays are my day off. I don’t talk to anyone, I don’t go anywhere, I don’t leave the house, for as long as I can get away with.

Doesn’t always work out that way, and I often wind up making Sunday the rest of my day off. I tend not to go to church – which I like – when my choir isn’t singing. Always bothered me. Until I gave it some thought, anyway. I realized there were a few things going on: when the choir is singing, I only have to interact directly with them, a small group of people. Even if we are standing in front of the congregation, I don’t have to talk to them, just stand in front of them and be part of an anonymous crowd. Well, not that anonymous…I stick out a little bit. But when the choir is not singing, and I’m in with the rest of the congregation, I have to talk to strangers, triggering anxiety. Because, as I mentioned, I’m not just introverted, but I’m also shy. No, that is not redundant. Introvert does NOT automatically mean shy. Hello, hi, how are you, fine. I’m good with that. But then we have the hymns. I love to sing. And apparently, I’m not to bad at it. So we sing a hymn or two. What happens then is I know people are listening to me. The first hymn, everyone around me who would sing is singing. Second hymn, the people right around me tend to stop singing. By the fourth hymn, there’s a large circle of people who will not sing, and between each one, I have to endure people turning and telling me I should be in the choir, or, more commonly now, asking when the choir will be singing again. It’s quite stressful for me.

Newport on the Levee
Great American Insurance building from Newport, Kentucky

The last few weekends have been a bit busy. On the 21st, for instance, I was in Oxford, visiting a friend. She’s in the home stretch, nearing her due date. The idea was to take some pictures, but it got dark, so I didn’t get to shoot anywhere near as much as I’d have liked. Some of my favorite pictures of her – ones showing her beautiful smile, for instance – are too dark to lighten without a lot of noise. It can be a neat effect, but not in these portraits. After that, I spent my weekend at home, resting and relaxing. It was getting a little hectic at work by that point, and it was all I could do to leave the house and go shopping.

The next weekend was even busier. Friday after work, I went to visit my friend who is expecting, then headed down to Newport, Kentucky, to meet other friends for the evening. The McGing Irish Dancers were performing, but it was postponed when the heavens opened. Got a bit damp out there, although the rain was a bit of a relief. I just wish I wasn’t wearing a white t-shirt. I felt for the dancers – the original performance was going to take place on a wooden stage. A flexible wooden stage, that bounces and gives with every step. Instead, they had to perform on a poured concrete floor in the mall. My lower joints ached in sympathy. Know how you feel after standing on concrete or cement for a long time? Multiply that by about a thousand. After the performance, after ten, I walked out and realized it was dark, the city across the river was alight, and I had my camera. I had to take a few shots.

Cincinnati Gay Pride Festival and Parade
Because schools should be for learning, not for fearing…

Cincinnati Pride weekend. I volunteered to work a booth for my employer – one of the corporate sponsors – that Saturday. My time at the booth was during the parade, so I went to the staging area to see what shots I could get, and who I might recognize. And to figure out where, exactly, I was supposed to go. It got a bit damp, and my folding chair broke, but it was fun. I ran into a number of friends. There were even a few protesters, but not nearly as many as I expected. We’re all going to Hell for supporting human equality. I’ll tell you right now, if you plan to post anything hateful, malicious, or even just show concern that people think about what they’re doing to the children, your comment will not see the light of day. Discussion and disagreement is fine; malice, even disguised as concern, is not.

Later that evening, I introduced a co-worker to opera. That was pretty cool. She enjoyed it. We saw Cincinnati Opera’s Der Rosenkavalier, by Richard Strauss. I’d never seen it. I remarked that I’d only performed in a Strauss opera, and that was mostly accurate; the Strauss opera I performed in was Die Fledermaus, by Johann Strauss II. Oh well. It was fun, great evening. I didn’t get home until nearly midnight. Popped on to Facebook to mention I’d just come back, and I enjoyed it. and found that, once again, a number of my friends happened to be at the opera, too. Same thing happened with Don Giovanni. I’m going to make sure they know which performance of Aida I’ll be attending, so maybe we can connect during intermission. That’s in a couple weeks. I’m really looking forward to it. This time, I’ll know at least two people in the chorus, not just one.

2013 LaRosa's Balloon Glow
Watching fireworks from Kellogg Avenue

This weekend is going to be a long one, both in time, and in events. Last night began with a trip to Coney Island, Cincinnati, for LaRosa’s annual Balloon Glow. I went last year, when it was about 100 degrees, and my blood pressure was wildly out of control. Meant I couldn’t cool off no matter what I did. I was able to buy an air conditioner shortly after that. Nothing like a few bouts with heat exhaustion to make you decide that, even if you have to eat ramen for the next month or two, you’re getting an AC. It was *very* crowded last night. Really too crowded to get any decent shots of the balloons, so I didn’t. I was a bit distracted, anyway. I’d lost my phone between parking and walking out of the parking lot. I just found out this morning someone did turn it in at the security office, so I’ll be picking that up later today. Whew. It’s an old flip-phone, but I like it. I’ll be transferring phone numbers to a spreadsheet or something once I get it back.

At the end of the evening, we were treated to a fireworks display by our own Rozzi family. Everyone knows the Rozzis. They created the “waterfall” from one of the bridges spanning the Ohio one year, for the annual WEBN Labor Day fireworks (roughly half a million people along the river, alone). Now, even though the rest of the show is amazing, that remains the one thing most people wait for, and are excited to see.

Well, that’s really about it. I don’t much care for shooting fireworks – with my camera, that is. It’s a little too hard to convey the majesty, the excitement, the fun of the event in a still picture. So, I will leave you with this, instead:

Fleeting, flaring, flashing, flaming
Sky breaks out in glitter
Screaming, clapping, jumping, laughing
Crowd breaks out in joy

Watch the children cheering happily
Standing on their cars
See the parents watching closely
Feeling like a kid

Happy birthday, America.

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