The Land of Hipness

I don’t know exactly what you’d call the Enormous Room. It’s not a bar, or a pub, or a tavern. Citysearch calls it “a lounge” and suggest that it “should have a sign outside: ‘You are about to enter the land of hipness.’” And that’s about the most accurate description I could find for the place where I hung out on Monday night, listening to four terribly good fiction writers read from their work—it really was a land of hipness.

As I imagine would be the case with any truly hip establishment, finding it proved a bit of a challenge. Had I not read online about the single red elephant that marks its door, we may have walked right past it. And I never would have gone in there by myself, as unhip as I am. Or at least I never would have been able to stay there once I’d seen it—the low light, the soft plush furniture, the waiter with the beret chewing on a toothpick. But I was with Sara, who I’d met up with beforehand at the Starbucks around the corner, and I felt as if a bit of Sara’s inherent hipness might rub off of me and allow me to partake in the festivities without feeling out of place. So, we opened the glass door with the red elephant stenciled onto it, and we crept up the stairs.

We were lucky we got there early, as the place became more and more packed as the minutes ticked away towards the start of the event at seven o’clock. We found seats on one of the plush two-tiered couches on the right side of the room, said our hellos to Michael, who we’d come to see read, and settled in with our drinks. One of Sara’s friends from work joined us, as did Scott later on, though he missed Michael’s reading because he apparently hadn’t heard about the red elephant and had subsequently gotten lost.

It was a good time, though I loathed having to wait at North Station afterwards for my train, pacing about for an hour and trying to keep my eyes open. But I got home around midnight, too tired to be upset about any of the stuff that was still bothering me from the day before, and that was exactly the result I had hoped for.