Late last summer, amidst the slow August season when almost all native Parisians flee the firey flames of the French été, I frolicked into my first Meetup Group. I chose a Brit-themed rendezvous so as to meet up with some fellow expats who spoke English but were primarily not American. It was my first time going to such an affair on my own, and it ended with gratifying results, as I walked away with a girlfriend to gab with, dinner plans with a few others to try an Indian restaurant, and a scandalous interlude with an older Scotsman. Not bad for a random Wednesday evening! Since then, I have been to the same Meetup a handful of times with varying results. The Indian Restaurant crew disbanded, the Scotsman turned douchebag, but I still have the British friend to girlgab with.
That being said, a couple of weeks ago, I saw there was to be a Pub Quiz night hosted by the Meetup. I thought this could be a thoroughly enjoyable way to get out in the wintry cold, specifically for myself and two of my good friends from the Sorbonne last year. After a bit of facebooking, only my American compatriot could join, but we decided to go anyway and were ultimately very glad that we did. We both arrived right before the quiz commenced, and were hurriedly placed with some other latecomers, quickly forming a team. Little did we know that we would become not only a key player in the antics, but reigning champions of the night. It didn't take us long to realize that each of us had our own special area of expertise. Clearly, I was not to be relied on for questions about sports, obscure political leaders, or historical facts I have no interest in. I was, however, extremely useful with Beatles trivia, anything fantasy, musical theatre, entertainment, or French history tidbit-oriented. As time sallied forth and drinks kept on pouring, we slowly realized that we actually had a shot in hell of winning! They announced the 3rd runner up, the second, and finally shouted out the winning team's name... THE PHOENIX.
This name was the product of one of our teammates suggesting the idea of a Falcon, combined with my insistence that we had to have something much more magical as our sobriquet. We were a group heralding from various lands, backgrounds and areas of education. Happily, we all enjoyed alcohol, knowledge, and having a darn good time. As we celebrated our grand triumph, our host brought us over our team prize, pitchers of even more booze than we probably remotely needed at that point. This resulted in some amazing quotes such as "Today sex on the beach, tomorrow the world" and "Looking like winners, that's our job", all of which will certainly be emblazoned on our team t-shirts as we slowly conquer all pub quizzes across Paris.
The subplot for the evening, at least for myself, was the fact that the Scotsman made his first reappearance in months the same evening. He was safely ensconced across the room with another team for most of the night, but of course managed to track me down around the bar once or twice. While I am perfectly happy to feign politesse to men I have entangled with in past, I find it mildly fatiguing to make idle chitchat with a 48 year old acting like we're good ole buds months after making me feel that I was mainly an annoyance. Such is life, but it definitely added to the drama of the evening. Also making victory just that tiny bit sweeter.
The next day, my teammates and I shared some nostalgic emails, commiserating in our mutual hangover, and vowing to engage in a comeback tour as soon as possible. In the meantime, we all downloaded the trivia app TriviaCrack so as not to let our triviachops become weak. We certainly agreed on the appropriate moniker "The Phoenix", as one of us mentioned the feeling of rising through the ashes post-laurels... More like a zombie, less like the stunning mythical creature sweeping through the scene the night before. But just as the Phoenix is so often reborn, so shall we continue to blaze.