Today was a small quiet fail on my part in some (er, many?) ways, though there were good and productive parts of it, and it certainly wasn't an awful day. Basically, I wasn't brave enough to be dumb. I need to learn how to stand up and interrupt, how to be confident enough to think that if I'm lost, maybe other people are as well, that my stupid ideas might... well, maybe they're stupid, but maybe they might also be helpful. Should have taken that risk. Might have shaken things up some. Dunno.

I'm trying to figure out what scared me this time, because I'm usually perfectly content to be the idiot in the room. And I think it's two bad habits I thought I'd expunged but apparently did not.

  1. I can't follow the conversation very well, so I can't tell if this is really actually the situation or if I'm missing something.
  2. Somebody else will do it if it's really important.

They're really the same thing. #2 is justification to give up after thinking of #1. And #1 is borne of the thought "I have nothing of real worth to contribute here," because if you think you are worth bringing into the conversation, then you'll make other people accommodate you.

The setup was crappy for lipreading, and I didn't think of that at the start when I picked a chair. (Not sure what I was thinking. Probably "oh, an empty seat.") I was forever leaning back and forth to see everyone's face and at some point I just got tired and decided it was more productive to swarm through things on my computer. I tried to IRC backchannel, but there weren't a lot of folks in channel, and it just didn't work out that way. Usually, folks catch on when I start taking notes and help me fill the gaps in, and Chris did some (yay Chris!), but there wasn't enough momentum there for me to get into the swing of things, and... well, I did okay. Especially during breaks, talking with small groups, I did okay. With individual conversations, fine. At dinner, fine. But I was definitely off my game; I could have done better, could have done more, had I been willing to be stupider. I'll not make that same mistake again tomorrow. I need to follow my own advice to fail soon and loudly and repeatedly until the bug is fixed; I had a silent traceback today and that's no good.

To be perfectly clear: I'm reporting a bug in myself. I'm not complaining about anything else but my own lack of reaction to do things I should have done. It went okay, but I think there was a chance for it to be completely awesome and that I could have done something but didn't. Not going to beat myself up over it; just going to learn from it. Move on, make tomorrow totally kickass, don't repeat the same mistake twice. This is one that I had to make at some point. I'm going to say these things now (well, type them out with some difficulty) because intellectually I know I have to wire them into my brain, even if I don't quite believe it myself yet.

I am smart. I have things to contribute. People should hear and understand the things I have to say. I should do them the courtesy of showing them how they can best accommodate my full participation.

AWKWARD! NOT PART OF BRAIN YET! Why is the notion that I might have worth still something that's incredibly uncomfortable? Well, moving on. I've learned stuff, and that's good.


Now yesterday was cool. We went the wrong way on the highway coming out of Seneca, and I persuaded Greg to drop me off at the airport (since he was staying at the airport hotel) so he wouldn't have to turn around and drive all the way back to drop me of during rush hour. <Soundtrack: whatever music was playing during the Star Wars Episode II scene where Anakin leaps out of the speeder and plunges five stories through traffic to land on the bounty hunter's ship. (Great chase/fight scenes, decent music, awful movie.)> So I was standing at Terminal 1 of Pearson International with a backpack and a picture of a map stored on my camera and no idea of how the Canada public transit system worked. It was a grand adventure!

Ran upstairs, asked around until I found a place that sold bus tokens, got one, raced downstairs and onto the first bus I saw that was about to depart; that ended up depositing me at a train station, whereupon I stabbed my finger onto the subway map, went "eh, that place looks good!" and rode most of the way there before getting impatient and swinging off a couple stops early and then wandering zig-zag through the streets, passing hardware stores and funky clothing outlets and tattoo parlors and a ton of bars along the way. Fan-freakin'-tastic.

The fog cleared, and I saw the CN tower. It's a tall thing with a round bit that looks like a flying saucer with a ton of windows at the top. Greg had said - I think on the drive down to Rochester, or walking to BBQ in Rochester, or something - that whenever one sees a tall thing with round windows at the top, there was probably either a restaurant or a bar up there, and that sometimes they span around. What the heck, I figured. Let's go find out if that's actually true.

  1. There is indeed a restaurant up there.
  2. It spins.
  3. It also serves a rather tasty eggplant parmesan. (That is the cheapest thing on their menu; I ordered the absolute minimum. And then I decimated the bread basket, because... hungry.) (I did leave a nice tip.)

It is the kind of expensive fancy place that people dress up in suits and ties for. I was lugging a somewhat scruffy-looking brown laptop backpack and wished I'd brought an Emergency Collared Shirt for such occasions... except not really. I was happy to have no ability to change out of my  t-shirt, honestly. 'Cause if I had, I'd probably have felt compelled to do it, even if I hate any semblance of dressing up.

Finished my food, finished gawking at the city spinning under me, noticed that it was dark and maybe it was time I should head home. Discovered Toronto's network of underground tunnels and loped through them awhile, singing Beatles songs because I was the only one down there and liked the resonance of the space. You say you want a revolution / well you kno-oh-woah-oh / well we all wanna change the world.

Caught a train back north and walked back to the house from there. I think an accurate portrait of me might be this: a subway car, strange city, empty, late at night, with newspapers strewn around, sitting by a window, wearing a jacket several sizes too big, arms wrapped around a backpack balanced on my knees, flickering in and out of various threads of thought just about as fast as the underground tunnel lights whip by.

Writing these notes for my future self; I want to remember yesterday's romp through Toronto, and today's lesson.