This doodlewash is of the Western Auto building in Kansas City. It was originally built for the Coca-Cola company in 1914, but later became the headquarters for Western Auto Supply Company. Today it’s been converted into housing but the multi-story lighted sign that tops the building was left in place and has become a landmark in the city.
We have a rooftop deck and you can see the sign clearly from our house, once the leaves of a large tree blocking it fall to reveal it. With our weather being slightly erratic and often too hot or too cold, having a rooftop deck is much like owning a convertible here – It’s really cool but slightly impractical for the amount of time you actually get to enjoy it.
I went to a party once in this building when it was first renovated into lofts several years ago, before Philippe and I ever met. I remember the view being really great and the curve of the building makes it rather impressive. The party itself was crowded with people. I didn’t really know anyone and mingling makes my skin crawl. I don’t like “small talk” and really, why would anyone? It even sounds like it could also be called “irrelevant speaking.” What’s the point?
I prefer to have real one-on-one conversations with people I like, rather than multiple meaningless ones with people I don’t really know, so I don’t end up at very many parties. Philippe and I are both introverts so a swarm of people small talking at us makes us want to run home silently screaming to hide.
The host of the Western Auto building party, I don’t even remember who this was, asked a group of us if we wanted to see the rooftop deck and since I only saw a couple people volunteer, I immediately did the same. The view was amazing, but somehow in my haste to exit the party I completely forgot that I have a fear of heights (perhaps a reason I should have gotten that convertible instead of a rooftop deck).
I stepped out onto the roof of the 12-story building and froze up, unable to walk to the edge with the rest of the group. They kept beckoning me to join them and I brushed them off with an awkward smile while maintaining my white knuckle grip on the railing near the door. To this, I got the “who invited this freak” look and they turned away to enjoy the view. Seeing my moment, I rushed back down the stairs, returning to the party which suddenly felt like a safe haven.
Thinking I could finally relax, I poured a drink and wandered to the back of the room. I barely noticed the girl standing right next to me, but after a few minutes she quietly said, “I hate parties like this.” I turned to her and smiled. We spent the next hour hidden in a corner actually talking about things that matter, and I left feeling happy. I didn’t attempt to conquer my fears that night, but by just being my awkward self, I did manage to make a new friend.