Recruitment (what the CIA, Skull & Bones, and tKoL have in common)
Yesterday afternoon, I was at elementary school pick-up. I have a child in elementary school, so this part makes sense.
I usually wear ear buds to to pick up so I can get in some last morsels of music into my ear holes before I switch from work mode to parent mode. I also wear ear buds to advertise that I’m not into small talk about whatever people small talk about now days. My ear holes are where I like my music.
On occasion a friend-parent will just walk right up and talk to me, with me. My friend-parents know the deal and they know they are welcome. It’s cool. It’s funny. I’m sure it’s a sight that the guy-who-talks-to-nobody has such close, crazy, attractive friend-parents.
But yesterday I looked to my right and a man was talking at me. At least I saw a man’s moving lips making lip-shapes toward me. Yes, he was clearly talking to me. He was about seventeen inches from my face. I popped out the right bud (Shure in-ears, so yeah, there was a little ‘pop’) and literally said, “huh?”
The fella says, “What are you listening to?” Fascinating.
I’ve seen this gent before. He is the father of at least two children at the school. He’s a parent new to the school. New as in, his kids began attending during the present year. At least, these were my observations. He’s probably in his thirties. He gives off enough cues that he was once part of the cool kid crowd. Not the socially cool kids, the cool all-knowing kids. The Brooklyn kids. College town kids.
He sometimes dresses in what I’ll call “second-tier professional.” Where as first-tier is the full suit that one would wear in finance or consulting. Second-tier is more suited to physician or orthodontist (add lab coat). You see it in your head. He happens to be a Chinese medicine practitioner. He lived in Berkeley once. I mentioned my good friend, Daniel, who is a Chinese medicine practitioner in Berkeley and San Francisco.
Sometimes my new pal dresses in a manner I can only describe as, sort of like me. Skateboarding-ish shoes. Trousers more appropriate to 19 year-old boys with confidence. Something from Volcom or Ezekiel. And t-shirts. Not garish Ts, but sensible Ts. I’ve felt the vibe before. Clearly, we’ve both been checking each other out.
“What are you listening to?”
I awkwardly explained that I was actually listening to a mix of things. Songs shuffled. I blabbered something about M.I.A., Joe Walsh, Spacehog, Portugal.The Man, and “some stuff by friends.” He nodded. I paused then I asked, “uh, was I rockin’ out?” He says, “Hell yes, that’s alright. I love music too.” He asked me if I was a musician, and I answered, “Sometimes I am. Some people only know me as one.”
Well, we chatted for a little and I learned that his name is Joao and that he plays drums and percussion. He knows an artist, a friend, who is making some extravagant thing here. I’m forgetting the particulars but it’s a massive and visual and has musical production. Something about a film/recording and maybe a performance.
Joao indicated that he needed my contact information. So I borrowed a pen from my child and took his number. I later texted him so that he would have my number. I texted something like, “Here’s my number.”
His reply, “Cool.”