Day 150 - That Comedy Show

Super Canada!
September 4th, 2015

Again, despite being incredibly fatigued, I wake up early. While waiting for others to awaken, I chat with Shimou and catch up on what’s been happening in her end of the world. Eventually, Lauren wakes up. We catch a cab to the mall, where she has to work. I feel like getting out of the house, so why not?

I sit in the food court, surrounded by teens trying to enjoy their last bit of summer that’s slipping away from them. I’m nearly done one post when a friend of mine, Neeraja, meets me. She just flew in from India the other day, and has very little to do at her place. I think she said that her luggage was lost.

We wander the mall, which is almost the exact same, drink some free tea samples, and get my phone set up. Lauren gets a break from work at 7, which the three of us spend in the halloween store, looking at decorations and costumes.

I check the time for the bus, and realize that we have to git' if we want to meet Reuben and Rochelle in time to pre-drink for the comedy show tonight. Lauren begrudgingly goes back to work. Neeraja and I hop on a bus. On the way, Neeraja decides against the comedy show, jumping from the moving vehicle. Tuck and roll! I trek the rest of the way myself.

Just an example Halloween display
We’re not at the house long before we walk on down to one of my least favourite bars in Waterloo, Chainsaw.* I’ve never been to the comedy show, and I can already feel my old ways setting in. As soon as reuben invited me, I wanted to say no. I have no reason for it, but I’d rather avoid that place in particular, and public places in Waterloo. What’s changed? Why am I feeling like this?

The comedy show itself was alright. The highlight of the show was clearly this bald, rotund guy in a Slayer shirt who went up.

“Tonight is my first time up here, and it’s taken me 9 beers to get up the courage!” he admitted. It showed. The worse he did, the more you could notice him receding to the back of the small “stage” area. His jokes started by doing crowd work, asking if there were any Asian people there. One girl near the stage gave a whoop and he asked her why she hadn’t ordered him takeout yet. Didn’t really make much sense, but.. let’s keep moving. He started talking about Brampton.

The Host of the Comedy Show
For those of you who don’t know anything about this area, Brampton, Ontario is a city near Toronto with a high population of South-East Asian and Middle eastern people. As the population of brown people rose in the formerly-white dominated area, some of the long-time residents became uncomfortable, packed up, and moved shop down the highway to found another city, Georgetown. Don’t quote me on that, it’s just what people from both areas have told me and could be entirely hearsay. More hearsay: Georgetown apparently has a chapter of the KKK. How Progressive!

Back to the guy: he starts talking about the various derisive, race-based names people have come up with for Brampton, and it’s not quite clear whether he’s trying to be racist or just accidentally coming off that way. He’s floundering, so they give him the signal to wrap it up.

“They’re giving me the lights.. but they’re going to have to come up here and get me. I’m telling one more joke. I tried to rape a girl once… turns out she was a black belt in brazilian jiu jitsu..” And then the bouncer got him.

The other comedians had a good time taking shots at him, and were good in their own merit, but this guy totally made the night memorable. I mean, you have one more joke and you choose to open it with that? Good play.

Zach, Lauren, Reuben, Rochelle and I were the group, plus their friends from work. I gotta say, I felt being sociable was more difficult. People were less receptive of simply saying Hello, despite being at the same table and having friends in common. Maybe I’m used to interacting with travellers or people who like my accent.. I know I’m probably friendlier to a stranger with an accent. Hey, maybe it's also because of the lack of meeting many new people for the past month or so. So many variables.

Bonus pic: Shimou Taunting me with my Shirt and Cup
I think part of it is also that I’m falling back into the self who lived here for so long. This is how it felt when I was back here, as if I’d never left. I’m feeling just as anxious and awkward as I did before I left, when similar circumstances abroad were perfectly fine. The way I’m viewing it now is like training wheels. I had no behavioural anchors holding me to be consistent with my former self, making it much easier to mould into shape. Here it’s like hammering cold vs hot steel. It's still not the easiest to work hot steel, but much better than doing it cold.

Lesson Learned: personal advancements is much easier because when in a new environment. Back here, there are always lots of reminders of who I was, and people who might expect me to behave in those ways. Not only is there a natural pull for you to act like you used to (it’s easier), but there are people who would actively try to push you back into that box. Hard mode: Engaged! Time to get back to where I was despite the environmental current.

After the Comedy show, Reuben and Lauren sang karaoke on stage, we drank for a couple more hours, and called it a night around 1:30. One more notable thing was Reuben gently touching me, Rochelle, and Lauren by the wrists and saying “I’m so glad you all could make here tonight.”

*Ugh, now I have in my browser history... I feel dirty.
Note: The lack of pictures are because I don't find as many triggers for me to think "Hey, take a picture of that." Mainly because this is all ordinary/boring for me.

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