As I'm so irregular,
(wait I'll start again)
As I so infrequently visit the Carmine Street Irregulars, you probably didn't notice that I actually have moved from NYC to Philly. I stopped off at the Philly Jugglers Club last night and was met with horror and shock. Let me run this by you so that if anyone else from Carmine comes down to visit they'll be more prepared than I was.
As soon as I walked in I knew that something was really different. The front-desk security seemed to be virtually non-existent. I didn't have to show any identification, and there was no questions about my residency in Pennsylvania, or even a cursory search of my possessions so that I knew that the establishment was secure from terrorists. I was perturbed. I handed over my credit card and was then shockingly told that there was no entrance fee. Alarm bells ringing in my head I realized that I wasn't going to be photographed either! It's almost as if they wanted the public to simply walk in off the street and join.
Trepidatiously I entered the gym, overlooking the well appointed facilities and scattered early attendees I scoped a good spot. As Carmine Street Irregulars know, getting a good spot in the gym is an artform and essential in the social-political makeup of the juggling group. Choose it wrong and you're doomed, you don't want to be sequestered into a dark corner an instantly labeled a no-friends weirdo. Yet a central spot is almost worse, and you'll come across as too showy, or worse desperate! All this has to be done without breaking stride in a few microseconds of walking into the gym; I was prepared. As it was my first time at the club the situation was even more desperate; choose the wrong spot now and I'll be doomed for months. I chose a slightly off center spot where I could get in a good juggle whilst still giving the impression that I wasn't a social reject. I also had the basktball hoop to my right which served as a good buffer in case a numbers guy showed up; you always want to stand out next to your neighbors and I had thought ahead.
As I started my warm-up I scoped people coming in the door. I was at ease as the usual cross-section of humanity entered, set up and then, to my utter horror, people started doing something so alien and unconscionable.
Yes they started talking to each other.
As if I wasn't suffering from enough abject shock the situation became even more untenable when several people approached me, introduced themselves and and proceeded to have pleasant conversations with me. I almost tried to explain that we should only talk after the juggling had stopped but it was in vain. We then gathered in the center of the gym and the group's organizers shared announcements and even welcomed me as a newcommer. I wasn't sure if this was some kind of reverse psychology hazing ritual and next week things would revert to normal.
I continued to juggle, working on some old moves that had become rusty with months of neglect, and noticed that others in the gym and how they were juggling. As we all know from years of going to Carmine, the purpose of juggling is quite simply "To Win". The jugglers at Philly were doing something that totally negated that basic premise. I've seen this at Carmine a few times before but always dismissed it as actions of a fringe group - but many of the jugglers were juggling in pairs facing each other with twice the normal equipment, exchanging the props on regular intervals.
After the club was over we went out to dinner and things reverted to the norm, although nobody was shouting.
I'll be back next week to report more, hopefully this was simply an anathema.
Your man in Philly,