Exhibit A

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“No Exceptions”

If I ever wondered whether my always taking things literally is the root cause of embarrassing moments and disappointments, that evidence smacked me right in the face the other night. I told my friends about this incident and although I enjoyed watching them laugh at my expense, I also worry that this is a sign of future me turning into a stubborn old person once I reach my senior years.

I went to a local venue to see a band I had been looking forward to listening to live. Since none of my friends expressed any interest I decided to purchase my ticket and go by myself. I had already been to a show on my own a few months ago in Austin, where I was attending a conference. Wouldn’t luck have it that the same week I was there, the Smashing Pumpkins were going to be playing. Not wanting to miss that opportunity, I bought a ticket that same day, and went. It was one of the best shows I have seen live. I decided that evening that from then on I would not to miss any more concerts for lack of someone to go with.

The evening of the show arrived and I almost chickened out of going. The Austin concert was in a very large venue, the Frank Erwin Center, and it was packed. I don’t know anyone in Austin so I did not feel intimidated about attending on my own. In contrast, this show was at Tricky Falls, which is housed in a building that used to be a small theater back in the day. I felt insecure about running into acquaintances and having them wonder why I was there all alone. It really makes no difference to me, but I’ve found it’s hard for some people to understand how anyone would brave doing entertaining things without the company of others after sharing in the past that I’ve gone to the movies by myself. I got the same quizzical look from a coworker one other time after I told her I went to see the musical Rent unaccompanied. In all honesty, people shouldn’t feel sorry for those who choose to go out on their own. I actually highly recommend it.

After talking myself out of my self-deprecating thoughts, I drove to the venue hoping there wouldn’t be an opening act because all I really wanted to do was see the band and get out of there. I made my way to as close to the stage as possible, and waited for the show to start. The opening act was actually pretty good, so that helped me ease myself into my surroundings. I was really enjoying the main act once it was finally playing, and after noticing that most of the people there had drinks in their hands I started to crave a beer myself. I had secured a good spot and didn’t feel like moving from it. Also, a guy was there next to me watching the band by himself as well. In some strange way, I felt like he was kind of keeping me company, so I decided to wait on that drink. After about an hour and a half I slowly made my way back towards the bar through the crowd. Once there, I noticed the following sentence within the drink menu sign:

“TWO DRINKS PER PERSON. NO EXCEPTIONS.”

This is where my literal mind trumped my otherwise coherent decision making process. I have been to places where you have to purchase a minimum amount of items in order to charge them on a card, for example. Maybe I was just very self-conscious and that also clouded my judgement. In any case, this simple sentence had me staring at it in bewilderment for a good five minutes. I have been to this place many times before, but had never known that you could only order two drinks at a time. Then again, I had always attended accompanied by at least one other sensible adult; the need to buy just one drink had never presented itself  before. It was at this moment that I noticed that my “companion” had also made his way to the bar. I considered asking this poor stranger to order my drink for me, since I was convinced that I was not going to be allowed to order just one, but my shyness got the best of me as it usually does. That and the fact that I went to the concert straight after work after a ten-hour day. As a result, I was not exactly feeling outgoing or flirtatious having spent the whole day working with elementary kids. In an effort to clear my confusion, I began observing the people at the bar and saw that everyone would leave with two drinks in their hands. Finally feeling bold, I decided to just ask some random person in front of me to order for me:

-“Excuse me, if I give you the cash would you mind ordering a beer for me? The sign says ‘two drinks per person’ and I just want one beer.”

-“Sorry! I can’t because I am already ordering two drinks myself.”

-“So you can’t order more than two, either, then??”

-“No, sorry.”

To add to the ridiculousness of the whole incident, I actually took my stupidity just a little bit further by approaching the bartender:

-“So, if I order a bottle of water, would it count as a drink?”

-“Sure, but it’s four dollars. Are you sure you want to do that?”

-“Well, it’s because I just want a Stella but I just noticed your sign, so I’ll have the Stella and the water and that will be the two drinks minimum, right?”

-“What do you mean?”

-“Your sign: ‘TWO DRINKS PER PERSON. NO EXCEPTIONS’.”

-“Oh, no, Sweetie! You can order just the beer!”

-“So then why do you have that sign?”

-“I have no idea…”

This absurd exchange took place while my imaginary “companion” watched from the other side of the bar. I gathered what little pride I had left and walked to the opposite side of the venue, way in the back, and finally drank a beer that cost me just a few dollars but quite a bit of self-respect.

You live. You learn.

Photo by Angela Saavedra