Last night, I went to something in the 3 Arena. On my own.
The 3 Arena has a capacity of about 10,000 people. That’s a lot of people. And a lot of space for it to be daunting.
I didn’t know anyone else – at the time of booking – who enjoyed The Tenderloins (most commonly known as the Impractical Jokers).
Like, no one.
I usually watched the show with my Dad or whilst curled up on the couch after having a shit day. Dad didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to go on my own. So when they announced their tour, I had kind of written it off.
The more I heard about it though, the more I wanted to go. And on Stephen’s Day, on the 39A into work at 1pm, I booked a ticket. Just one. And I booked missed event insurance just in case.
The last week I’d been both excited and dreading it. I had travelled by myself, been to the cinema by myself but in my (over thinking) brain, this was different. This was a social thing and I wasn’t necessarily being social.
Twitter stepped in to calm my fears and I felt a lot better but when yesterday rolled around, I was a little bit of a mess. Looking back on it, there was absolutely nothing to be nervous about but my social anxiety didn’t see it that way.
Here’s how it went:
5:00pm – Dinner. I can’t finish eating as I’m way too nervous. Get a text from a friend who happened to be in the same area as me. Tell her how nervous I am. Her response: “I would have come with you”. OH GREAT, ALICE. BIT LATE NOW.
6.00pm – Still too early to actually go there. Go into Starbucks and order a mocha. Read up on how to calm anticipation and anxiety asap. Read that I’m not supposed to drink caffeine. Drink caffeine anyway.
6.30pm – Begin to amble towards the Luas Red Line as I have absolutely run out of things to do. Amble in my case when I’m nervous means walking rather fast and getting to my destination a lot sooner than expected.
6.34pm – I’m at Abbey Street Luas stop. It’s packed. I keep walking.
7.00pm – I stop for a breather because fucking hell, I’m walking way too fast and I’m sweating and realise now more than ever why I’m so very, very single.
7.15pm – Arrive at the 3 Arena. Oh shit, everyone is in pairs or groups. Maybe if I hold my phone up to my ear, it will look like I’m talking to someone who just isn’t he- my phone rings as I have it up to my ear. It’s my Mother.
7.25pm – Inside, queueing for the ATM. Heineken in one hand, balancing my coat, phone and purse in the other. The programme is fifteen quid. I leave Alice a voicemail because my nervous are through the roof.
7.30pm – Try to get everything back into my bag. Look up and see a girl standing opposite me across from the counter on her own. I begin to relax until I see her boyfriend sidled up beside her.
7.31pm – I hand my ticket to the usher. He shows me a seat in the middle of a row on my own.
7.33pm – ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod, this is fine, right?
7.34pm – I realise I have an incredible view.
7.36pm – There. Are. A. Lot. Of. People. Here.
7.37pm – Two guys sit down beside me on my left. No one in the five seats next to me on my right. It looks like we’re in a threesome now. No wait, that’s not what I meant, come back.
7.45pm – I mumble something to them about keeping an eye on my things as I run to the bathroom. I bring my Heineken with me because I need to look cool.
7.55pm – Back in my seat. Refresh phone every couple of seconds. Oddly calm. Listen to the drunk girl behind me try to name all four members of the troupe. She fails. Miserably.
8.00pm – House lights go down. People scream. I give a soft ‘wooop’ so as not to annoy the people beside me who are, in my mind, my pretend dates for the night.
8.30pm – Support act is off. House lights come back up. Fetty Wap’s album blasts once more. No one has filled the five seats to the right of me. I wonder if it’s polite to move down one so the other two don’t feel like I’m imposing. Then I think about how weird it would be to just be sitting with 2 empty spaces either side of me. Yeah, real great way to strike up a conversation and not feel awkward.
8.45pm – The act finally arrives on stage and everyone loses their fucking minds.
8.46pm – I should have gone to the bathroom again
10:21pm – The four lads start singing and everyone stands up and I fold my arms because I don’t know what to do but angle myself away from the guys beside me in case my tears of joy annoy them.
10:30pm – Show is over. Guys beside me leave immediately foiling my plan of looking like I had friends. I wait til everyone leaves before I do but don’t look anyone directly in the eye.
10.41pm – Make it to my ride home. Relieved and proud that I did something for myself. Realised that no one gave a crap about who I was and what I was doing there and that the majority didn’t even notice me. Proud of my lack of real freak out once I got inside. Think of it as a really good start to the new year. And make a promise to myself to do it all again.