Last night I took my first improv drop-in class in some ... 7 or 8 years and it was a blast! It was really nice to shake things up and do something entirely different. When I introduced myself to the other participants I said that I spend all day in front of a computer screen and that I probably wasn't getting the quota of social interaction I needed, and that was part of the reason I was there. Like a few other members, I also said that I listen/enjoy comedy and improv so I wanted to give it a try.
The class was an hour long. I couldn't believe how closed up I was at the start relative to how loose I felt at the end. It was definitely special. By the end we had all laughed and it was something of a bonding experience - with complete strangers 1 . As we left, the instructor casually said goodbye and said something to the effect of Go get a beer or hang out or whatever!. And then, I was back to being closed up again - I couldn't really bring myself to ask people to hang after. Instead, I put on my helmet got on my bike and rode home. I felt really sad about that! As I rode I thought about how much my life has gotten into a specific groove (not necessarily a rut) and how hard it is to break out of it.
Playing and improv'ing with complete strangers made me realize that my workplace exposes me to a fairly specific circle of people and that sometimes certain events and the people associated with them aren't necessarily going to give you what another group of people will offer (I wish I could make that sound less vague). 2
In line with feeling closed up at the beginning - I noticed that I didn't laugh very easily at the start, at least not like some of the other participants. I don't think comparing is useful in this context, but it was a bit eye-opening to see myself in a situation with other beginners and see how easily some people took to being goofy and laughing at themselves. I hope that's something I can learn over time.
I'll definitely be doing another class and going to more shows! I wish I had seen that I needed it sooner, but I suppose I just wasn't ready for it until now!
Being with complete strangers in a more intimate way than say, passing them on the street, is also a good bubble-bursting experience.
This feels naive and obvious now that I'm writing it out. Perhaps I really did drink the kool-aid in the techworld where phrases like "bring your whole self to work" and "we're a team/family/friends" are thrown around.