DISCOVERED OUR MOST RECENT GUEST today on my visit up to the north side of town. Really fascinating and fun conversation, on the spot, pretty dramatic. Wow. I knew that I was in over my head when I realized suddenly that the person I was meeting was far more practiced in the art of listening than me. Also a little older. A year. Just a year. But she was, clearly, so much wiser, in this particular aspect. Then I lost my hat. I don’t mean that as some kind of expression, (if it is an expression?) Well, I guess these things happen. Losing hats, I mean. Then I caught up with my team. Then we got dinner. Then I came home, and read through the email. Then I saw that our count for ‘ticket-yes’ guests had bloomed to 13 (from the 7 that I reported earlier  yesterday). Things move really quickly the closer we get to the moment of ‘N’. It’s like relativity, and spacetime, or maybe just… deciding. There are some lovely people we will be gathering together, in the shared moment that will be happening at ‘N’ Hanoi: NARRATIVE. Here’s a bit about the journeys here, with ‘N’ in Hanoi, for the last few weeks. First, we had to pick a date. This is how.
Choosing a date, together
THE INVITEES. Tonight, I’ll close the online poll where I invited people to confer on a mutual date. (The first few lines will show you how we landed on Tuesday as a date.) But whom would I invite? It was a matter of gut feeling. If someone frowned, no. If someone avoided eye contact, no. If someone gave me a warm return smile after I said hello, that was a little step towards maybe. After a while, we had a critical mass and a date. Soon after that, I just shared about it here and there and waited to see how things went. The people I met in real life were in cafes, on the street, (I shied away from interrupting people at lunch, but didn’t mind accosting someone who might be walking along on the way in or out of somewhere, like the youth with a trumpet in a case earlier today… hey, if you’re reading, I’m serious about the improv stuff, very). Overall, I looked around as much as I could, walked kilometers upon kilometers, got lost on the buses, found an incredible juice shop on Yen Phu, invited a young lad from the No. 9 to ‘N’ (who responded to the poll above), carried forward, carried on, worried, thought I wasn’t really fit for this since I’m an out-of-towner, took that and owned it, circled around and around, realized it doesn’t matter cause you’re a stranger everywhere and in my case especially in the ‘where I’m from’ places, took a train to the countryside to look at the land formations and rivulets and get lost and wind up… okay, that’s too long a story, then took a few days off, then did a mini-checkin with myself to decide if this was worth trying to do, then kept at it, because what’s ‘worthy’ is what’s ‘noteworthy,’ in so many ways, and NOTEWORTHINESS was our last ‘N’ theme, and wow, did I learn what that means (to me). It’s all relative. What would have been the point if I didn’t try very hard, and if not hard because hey, it’s really hot, and it rains, and it’s hard to get motivated sometimes to go out and talk to people I don’t know, then to try, at least, earnestly. Carefully and honestly, to discover the *new* and *different* by getting out of my box.
WONDERING HOW THIS WORKED? Mechanics are simple. I invite the first few guests to a poll, where we could see if this was even reasonable to attempt, given I have a limited time here (visa). And when we saw some convergence for the 27th, I asked some others to join in on this, too. As the number approached 43, I realized it was time to just ask directly. Emails and personal invitations followed, and the last few lines are those who confirmed just these last 24 hours. For this ‘N’, I tried it a little different from before. Instead of making people get tickets ahead of time, I just thought, let’s start with the date, this time. So I invited people, as I went.
Going along, starting in late May, and continuing through June.
In total, there were 43 people invited to this poll. (I met way more people than that, people I didn’t think were really a good fit. I’m looking for the kind of people who say ‘yes’ to the unexpected, and look for challenges, and are ready to discover others who might be of similar ilk.) Must also tally the people I invited in other gestures, but I haven’t gotten a final count yet. I’m pretty distracted, it’s hot here, and it’s hard to get too terribly excited about what might happen when I don’t know if… well. If 16 will be there. Then again, what do we really ever know?
Of 43 invitees, there were 18 respondents to this poll.
As I write this note at 9.31PM here, 13 are ‘ticket-yes’ guests.
Late registration (USD $27) opens tomorrow for the last three seats.