On Saturday night, our group had a party in a labmate's room. While I sat around, I noticed the high school mentality that seems so pervasive in this research group. The popular kids hung out with Prof. Bigshot. The losers were banished to sit the party out. Guess where Vavoom was? Yup, I was a wallflower extraordinaire. Even when I tried to talk to the "popular" guys, they wouldn't even acknowledge what I said. It was weird, I'd say something, they'd just look at me with a disgusted look on their face and continue conversing with one another.
I decided I'd leave the party and find some reasonable people with whom to spend my time. As I walked downstairs and into the bar, I saw Q. He was dressed up as one of the Crazy 88s from Kill Bill. He was all alone, staring down into his scotch. You'll remember that Q is pretty unhappy with the group.
V: Hey Q, how are you?
Q: Sad. Pretty sad.
V: Why? What's wrong?
Q: I just can't make friends with the people in our group. I can't do it. It's as if I don't even exist to them.
V: I hear you. I have the same problem. But, hey, there's a room loaded with people dancing next door. Why worry about, and waste your time with, people that don't appreciate you?
Q: I don't know... I'm just so miserable working around these people.
V: But we're not working now. They're not even here. Why let them determine your happiness? I'll say it again -- there are 100 people next door dancing and having a good time. Why aren't you one of them?
Q was quiet for a while. Suddenly he said, "You're right, Vavoom. Fuck those people upstairs. I'm going to be happy tonight." He chugged down his scotch and quickly walked out of the bar and into the ballroom. Five minutes later, I heard the music diminish. I got up and walked over to the dance floor. There I saw Q, up on the stage with the DJ. "What the hell is he doing," I wondered. Suddenly the music started again and I heard from Q:
"Where it began, I can't begin to know when
But then I know it's growing strong
Oh, wasn't the spring, whooo
And spring became the summer
Who'd believe you'd come along
Hands, touching hands, reaching out
Touching me, touching you
Oh, sweet Caroline
Good times never seem so good..."
He began singing to the entire party. It was amazing. Let me tell you, this had all the makings of a Napolean Dynamite scene. The entire crowd sang along with him. It was incredible, people were swaying back and forth with their hands in the air. At the song's conclusion, he received an uproarious ovation.
I could see it in his eyes, he was happy.
Why couldn't I follow my own advice? Why wasn't I up on the stage or on the dance floor? I went for a long walk outside. The air was cool and I felt alone. "Snap out of it, Vavoom," I kept telling myself. "No, not tonight. I'm not going to be miserable tonight." I ran back to the dance floor. When the party ended, I was still sad. At least for a couple hours, though, I was happy doing the train and the electric slide.