Yesterday, Jill and I attended two teas within a three hour period. On the bright side, we only had to find one outfit that fit or looked awesome, and we swept through both at a fairly rugged pace. Jill grumbled the entire time in the car on the way to the first tea...primarily because she doesn't like being in awkward situations. Having to remember names, meet people, figure out how to eat standing up, and look incredibly cute is apparently difficult to do simultaneously. I honestly wouldn't know.
I don't really have difficulty with the first two under normal situations, but the third and fourth are definitely not a problem for me. I tend to remember things that other people tend to forget in such detail that it would be brilliant...if I weren't weaving times of being such a complete bonehead into the tapestry. I can remember anything that I have studied...but not everything. So, I'll remember enough to be dangerous...and sometimes dangerously wrong. I just never know exactly when there will be a light bulb out somewhere...so to speak. But does that stop me from talking? That answer would be NO.
So, I tend to remember people who don't necessarily remember me and I'm rambling on about something that I assume that they know...but they don't remember me from Adam's housecat. Other times, the reverse is true. So, as I'm trying to introduce my daughter to someone...I can't exactly remember who they are...or I call them by their child's name. Nice. That actually is fairly universal...I've been called "Jill" many, many times.
The other one...meeting people...is not difficult for me. After ten years of commercial lending...and 24 years of banking...I have been in more breakfast meetings, coffees, after work social events and Chamber of Commerce functions than I care to mention. I can talk to a wall. Part of this is an inherited tendency to talk incessantly, and the other part is just learned behavior. I find that after one of these events, though, I tend to need some alone time to recharge. I am...after all...an introvert...whether anyone but Myers-Briggs believes me or not. Energized by crowds? On a selective basis...yes. But I'd really rather be in a small setting with just a few people...or by myself.
I gave up eating at these functions sometime in 1997. I used to try to balance a plate and a drink, but soon learned that it was far easier to survive these events by just having the drink. If alcohol was served, I'd just order a diet Coke with a lime twist. That way, nobody knew what was in the cup, and I could leave without doing something heinous like laughing too loud. I tend to be LOUD if fueled by alcohol. So, I avoid it completely.
Looking incredibly cute has now be replaced with "looking decent for my age" which on some days is questionable. I have had to resort to chemical alteration of the hair, and there is simply no way to hide the fact that there has been far too much eating and far too little exercise for a while now. I left comfort behind years ago. So, I keep my coat on if I can, and I play a game called "get somewhere where you can see what is going on but you won't block anyone with your hips" and then I just stand there and smile. Usually, the uncomfortable ones come up and talk to me...which means that we are both entertained, and I'm not blocking traffic somewhere. Which totally works for me.
So, we went to the first house...a tea for a debutante ball that Jill will be participating in this summer. The girls who are in it are all very attractive...so the pictures will totally rock. There are six girls from Jill's high school, and about a dozen or so others involved from what I counted. This will mean that I get to see Big Dave in tails, and for that...I am willing to pay whatever this costs even if rice and beans will be standard fare for awhile. She will be gorgeous...and I'm tickled that she was invited to participate. We are not exactly paragons of the social set here in the Montgomery, Alabama area. You almost need to be born here to fully understand...but due to the kindness of many of the board members - including Jill's roommate's mother - she was nominated and selected.
She spoke to many of the participants, and enjoyed herself a whole lot more than she thought she would. She smiled and put on her best "rush party" face and I actually saw her laughing a few times. The fact that she was not glued to my side like velcro was evidence enough for me. Plus, they had that really good lime sherbet punch that used to be standard fare at southern weddings and baby showers before everyone went all party planner on us with exotic punches that have about fifteen ingredients and don't taste nearly as good. So, I sashayed up to the table and surveyed the wonderful food that someone had taken the time to make then got my cup of punch and enjoyed it immensely. I fear that I gained ten pounds just eyeing the chicken salad sandwiches, fruit, cookies, and cheese straws...but perhaps not. I believe that if food is prepared by skinny women, it generally won't be as good as it looks because they use fat free everything...which is almost sinful if you ask me.
The second tea was at a beautifully restored apartment building that was turned into a home. The tea was great...but many people came just to see the house. It was decorated at a level that I will never come close to achieving in my lifetime, and that is just as well. The hostesses were immensely gracious, and I had a lovely conversation with the lady of the house about the caloric content of various appetizers. She probably thinks I'm nuts...but whatever. At least I wasn't talking about the weather...which is my hidden signal that it is time to go...or I am participating in a wasted five minutes of my life. She had roses everywhere, and the decorating was beyond decorating. What would you call that? Super-size decorated? Uber-decorated? Well, it was all that and more. Yeah.
Oh, and she even had a pink tree for the Phi Mu tea. Her decorator just decided to dress the tree in pink this year before she was asked to host the tea. Amazing! We photographed the collegians, and it was then that I realized that Jill's old high school boyfriend's current girlfriend (a Phi Mu at another school) were in the same photo. This will certainly be a shock to his mother...who treated Jill (and me) quite shabbily a few years ago when the photo shows up in the local newspaper. Sometimes life has some unexpected surprises, doesn't it?
All in all...it was a wonderful afternoon. Jill really ended up enjoying herself very much, and all four of the University of Alabama collegians were at the tea. We got to see an old neighbor who is now the president of her chapter in Troy and her mother - who as fate would have it - was my nurse when I had my gall bladder out a few weeks ago. Seeing how the other half lives (and decorates) was like going to decorating Disneyland for me. I don't really know that much about decorating...but I know that someone spent many hours poring over fabric swatches, paint colors, and furniture lines so that I could enjoy the visual feast yesterday afternoon. I did leave the actual feast on the table alone though...which was good.
I got to thinking about Jill's reaction yesterday afternoon and it reminded me that sometimes we are invited to events that we'd rather not attend, but we always end up having a great time...or if we don't...we have excellent stories to share with others. To me, part of the fun is having a little of both, actually. Sometimes enduring incredible hassle makes for a most rewarding experience...or something so horrible that we end up laughing about it for years. I know that I have a few stories like that including a particularly nasty stomach virus that hit me, Big Dave, Mom and Ralph simultaneously...in a one bathroom apartment. Oh, the horror! I still retain the aversion to the smell of Lysol all these years later.
So, if you are attending holiday functions and feel about as festive as the Grinch, just try to let go and go with the flow. You will find something positive in the experience...or not. I find that it is the "or nots" are sometimes almost as much fun (in retrospect) than the easy, perfect times of my life. Not the tragic times...but just the "OH. MY. GOSH." times that I consider the spice of life. Probably because I have so many of them...that I finally just started finding the humor in them instead of opting for therapy.
Well, enough rambling for a Wednesday December morning. There are things to do and places to go. Big Dave and I cleaned up the bedroom this morning, and you can not only walk in there...it actually now looks like a bedroom instead of the clearance aisle at Walmart. The kitchen has been returned to its "pre-baking" splendor from "frat house aftermath" look it had yesterday (minus the beer cans, of course). There is Christmas music playing on Dish Network, and I am sitting here in my pink moumou at 10:00 a.m. Life is good.