As some of you who read my Sunday blogging learned, I had a little fun, unlikely fun, this past Sunday.
In Monday-morning-quarterbacking my fun (being Lutheran, I can't help but exegete and hermaneute my own fun), I realized that it has been eight years -- eight years! -- since I have been out with a bunch of people, just enjoying ourselves.
I used to live in a small city (not nearly as small as Outer Podunk, but small compared to -- well, the big city), where I worked for a large firm that provided court reporters to law firms around the state for transcribing various legal statements. I headed up the quality control department, supervising a small staff of legal proofreaders. Now, it takes a certain type of person to read through reams of depositions, usually on a rush basis, check all the jots and tittles and make sure that the court reporter typed what the people present actually said -- that the transcript gets the affects and effects right, that it doesn't read prostate when the speaker said prostrate. It takes a bookish, nerdy, geeky, nit-picky, insatiably nosy person; and that's what we all were. Somehow we all wound up in this community; somehow we all wound up working for this company.
We were introverts. But we were introverts who needed introverts; so we became fast friends. And we'd go on spontaneous outings. I'd be home and get a call: Want to go to the movies? Want to go out to eat? We went antiquing; we went to art fairs; we went up to Interlochen Arts Academy to catch performances; one of the gang threw an autumn formal dinner for us every year. I was the only single person in the group, so sometimes I became a convenient excuse for the others to organize an outing; one of my friends told me that she'd tell her husband, "Oh, we're going to take LutheranChik out, because she's all by herself this weekend"...actually they weren't sorry for me at all, but just wanted to get out of the house. (And I was happy to be exploited in this manner.) And I was the youngest member of the posse -- the Kid. (This is a very only child thing, by the way. I was thinking about this the other day, and about my need for medical science to keep bumping up our lifespans, so that I always have people to hang out with.)
It was great, being around a group of very smart,wry Women of a Certain Age who, evidently bolstered by the idea of safety in numbers, became quite uninhibited in public. Waiters raised disapproving eyebrows at us; movie ushers shushed us; we once made an antique dealer blush as we critiqued a Nekkid Lady Plate in his display. Sometimes we'd get to laughing so hard during our excursions that our sides literally hurt.
I've missed that. A lot. As much as I cherish my own time and my own thoughts -- it's good to get out with other people for no other reason than to enjoy one another's company.
And now I seem to be able to, again. In fact, I'm going to be going out for dinner this weekend after I get back from my retreat, and going to a barbecue next month. (Being me, when I go out with people and then get invited back, my gut reaction is, Why? Why would you want me to keep hanging around you? And, yes, I've had my head professionally spelunked to, among other reasons, explore why I'd wonder this; but understanding why doesn't make me stop asking.) On one hand it seems odd, so soon after Mom's death; it makes me think of Scarlett O'Hara in her widow's weeds, dancing with Rhett Butler. But on the other hand...good Lord, isn't it time?
The other night, as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the changes and responsibilities and opportunities swirling about me, I had a real heart-to-heart with The CEO. "I really don't know what to do," I said. "I'll do anything you want."
You think The CEO maybe wants me to...have a little fun?