Saturday, January 31, 2009

sundance 3

standing for "comfort zone" not "cubic zirconium"

I've grown up my whole life in Utah. Fruit Heights, Utah. Turns out, Fruit Heights, Utah is 98 % Caucasian and mostly LDS. I am in school at BYU, which, it turns out, has a similar demographic. except that all of the people here are in school, not spread throughout different ages, etc.

The point is. This zone is very comfortable to me. I love knowing that everyone believes the same thing as me. I love knowing that I don't have to worry about using the terms "RM", "FEC", and "DTR" without anyone blinking an eye or looking at me like I'm crazy. Well, I had a few people looking at me crazy just a couple of weekends ago. And here's why:

My bestie, Lauren, and I decided that since we both love films and vacations, that we would volunteer at the Sundance Film Festival. We wouldn't have to miss a day of school, we would spend two glorious weekends chilling in Park City, and we would get to see 10 free films! I was so excited to meet directors, actors, and producers, and be part of the cool indie-film culture.

Little did I know (or expect), but that culture included a lot of very...shall we say...interesting people, doing interesting things. See, growing up in Utah, I have never been in a situation where people I am personally acquainted with are drinking alcohol. I had never been offered a drink, let alone in a place where everyone (literally) except me and Lauren was drinking. I know. Call me a babe in the woods, but it's true. I live a sheltered life.

So, after work one night, some people invited us to their place for a "drink". I had to, for the first time, tell them that I didn't drink. I was a little nervous, because I really wanted to fit in with them; I liked their style, personalities, and company. My nervousness was eased when they informed me that they had guessed that I was Mormon, and had already purchased some Ginger Ale. I laughed at their guess, and we became instant friends for the rest of the festival.

Most of my fears about being around drunk people include lewdness, crudeness, rudeness, and pressure to do distasteful things or things that my moral compass points away from. Thus, in this new situation, I was still somewhat cautious. However, as the night progressed, I found that, minus the slurred speech and lack of focus, my friends' respect for me did not seem to dwindle. They asked some frank questions (e.g. "So, you've really never had a sip of alcohol?" or, "You're serious. You've never slept with a guy?") which I answered honestly and with a sort of respect for my new friends who had no concept of the paradigm from which I came.

Although I was nervous when I first realized (unexpectedly) that I was soon going to be in a position where I would have to defend and stick to my morals, my discomfort quickly faded as I found that I could have fun without being drunk, without participating in the drugs that were there, and that I could still have friends without agreeing with what they were doing.

And, while they thought I was pretty strange, they just shook their heads and welcomed me into their already strange lives.

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