So, I've been volunteering at a literacy organization in Echo Park, and they regularly host drop in drinking nights, during which they invite volunteers to meet up for drinks at a bar of interest. Since this week's bar was just down the road and since I would have otherwise spent the night watching Pride and Prejudice for the 47th time, I decided to check it out.
I knew within two minutes of walking in that I was doomed. First of all, most of the attendees were in their early 20s, which would have been fine, but they were also the kind of socially awkward, aspiring hipster twenty-somethings that used to wreak havoc on my self-esteem, and hence my social life. I immediately had a (very unpleasant) flashback to being 22 and having a vague sense that something I was wearing was hopelessly uncool in ways I could never even imagine. What's funny is that I have spent the last ten years living in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and LA, epicenters of hipster attitude, and I have long since learned how to not let it bother me. It is, after all, a manifestation of profound insecurity on the part of the perpetrator, and over the years I've found it's easiest to deal with it by keeping in mind the fact that deep down these people are absolutely terrified that someone will discover that 311 was their favorite band until well into college.
But man, there is something about these early 20s hipsters that still kills me. They're especially vicious -- it's as though they're testing out how badly they can behave without making other hipsters think they're total assholes. (That can be pretty bad.) And although, to be fair, there were only a couple of these types present tonight, they were enough to make the whole affair insufferable. The general disinterest each person displayed during introductions was annoying, but things didn't get really bad until the table talk turned to beers. One girl mentions that not all beer is vegan - did we know that? Fortunately we were at a German bar, however, and they had centuries old quality standards to ensure that our brews would remain untainted by animal products of any kind. Nods around the table. So I'll drink beer, this same girl continues, but not wine. Wine is not vegan, because some winemakers use a filter during processing that is made out of fish parts. It's very sad.
Mind you, this was all stated in the most supercilious way possible, and accompanied by looks around the table to make sure that we were all aware of this unfortunate fact. If I had had a taser available to me at this point, I would have straight tased this bitch. WINE IS NOT VEGAN! You pretentious loser! You pompous, humorless dreg of humanity! Oh, to think of all the fish that have suffered for all the wine we humans have been consuming for the past several millennia. So heartless, so tragic.
And in this way, I was undone. No, I didn't laugh and ask her to repeat herself to make sure I heard it correctly. No, I didn't look down my nose at her and make a snide remark about how I felt sorry for her and all that she was missing. Instead, I went into a fugue state for a full five minutes. The world went black. I had a vague sense that I should say something to make it clear that I was not complicit in this nonsense, but the enormity of the reality that some people actually hold this view stunned me silly. Stupefied me. I'm still processing it.
As soon as I recovered my senses, I laid down a ten and fled the scene. And thus ended this week's (and possibly this entire month's) attempt at networking with like-minded people. I got home, poured a glass of cab and set about hoping 2010 would bring more wine and less assholes.