I don't do joining in. I dislike participating in team sports. I don't like big gatherings of people. I feel uncomfortable when a large group are doing something together and it's clear you're meant to be all one with your thoughts. Like when I went to watch this local band once years ago and everyone was pretty much wetting themselves at how good they were and it was this massive hipster circle jerk and I quietly thought they were all tits and teeth. And also like whenever I go to a church for a wedding and the vicar prays and everyone bows their head and I keep mine up because I it feels wrong and then I look around and everyone, but everyone, has their head bowed down and I look like an atheist meerkat.
The collective consciousness makes me feel all itchy and like I should run far, far away. I don't like team building events or being called 'teamies'. That is actually something that happened at a previous place of employment. It was bestowed on the worker bee scum by the queen bee bitch to, presumably, makes us feel 'part of it'. It made me vomit in my mouth a small amount every single time.
Anyway, my point is, I don't join in. It's the same reason I hate exercise classes or communal gyms. When I'm getting sweaty I just want to me alone with my thoughts and my painful lungs. I don't want to have to do fake smiles at randoms and clean the exercise bike with dettol before I use it.
But something just occurred to me earlier. I was on the way back from the shops and I noticed that Fishergate bar is open to the public today. It's one of the five gates of the City Walls and is basically an ancient look out post. Like the history goon I am I got all excited (my heart started to actually go faster - abnormal) and pretty much ran inside, knocked all the tourists out of the way and nosed around. It's utterly fabulous inside, all garderobes onto the street, original stonework and clues to its usage over the centuries.
It's got that musty, ancient, castle smell that I adore and the stairs are so windy and unsafe that the volunteers who opened it up for the day warn you that if you die it's totally not your fault. Marvellously, you have to use a torch to get up there.
After it fell out of use as a look out, it's been home to various reprobates and randoms and, it appears, there is evidence that in Georgian times bawdy dancing occurred. It is, in short, fabulous and you can see my house from one of its windows.
Ten minutes later, I've joined 'The Friends of York Walls', sponsored a part of the restoration work, decided to write an article on it, got the guy's card and went home. So that can join my membership of 'The Friends of York Cemetery', my volunteering (hopefully) at the York Museum Library, my use of the York University library, not to mention my joining of not one, but two classes at York University, the writing I do for York-based entrepreneurs One&Other, and the Indiegogo fund I contributed to for some awesomely talented York-based film makers to take their film to Cannes.
I have been here just over a year and have joined more things than I did in 12 YEARS in Leamington. That could be because Leamington just isn't as historically interesting (sorry Leam, but you're just a gorgeous Georgian town, you can't compete with 800 year old ramparts) or it could be because I feel more at home here, even after a much shorter time.
I need to be careful lest I unwittingly join the group of Morris dancers who frequent the town centre, or end up holding my own Ghost Walk through The Shambles.