I have joined a book club, a REAL meet up, in person, book club. And this is so unlike me, but if I don’ t start embracing a few nice people even in a small way I am going to become–if I’m not already–THAT woman, the one who mutters to herself, hates small children, whacks at people w/a cane–which I find utterly delightful, by the way. SEE! I’m already there.
So. . . the book club. I went to my first meeting last month. I read the book (Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto–love her, not my favorite book) but I had read the book years ago and it was nearly erased from memory. Still, it was the getting out and meeting people that was important. The book was just the medium to get me there. I brought food. I chatted. I played nice. I did okay. I did get terribly bored during the discussion, squirming on a hard metal chair w/my bony ass for an hour. I found myself curiously watching the ladies, as I am known to do. (I’m a writer, for God’s sake. Watching people is my job!) So I “noticed” these things:
* 14 out of 15 women had their toenails painted. The one absent was wearing shoes.
* 13 out of 15 women were wearing slip on flip flops. The other two were in sandals. (I was in sandaled heels. Over dressed? I don’t know.)
* Lastly, and most surprising (read: disturbing): 14 out of 15 women wore wedding rings! The whole fricking group was married! Which I did not see coming, at all.
* 13 or so women were in their mid-thirties; one was pregnant. the last was 50-ish, the more interesting for it and the mediator is nearing 40, I guess. The room glared w/diamonds. Some small, some large, but all there. I felt naked. I felt outside. I felt like I typically feel, like a pariah.
There is something terribly smug about a thirty-something wife. (Bitter, I’m not bitter. . . ) The mommy mobiles that convoy down the street to overtake my cafe on Weds. is utterly annoying. They circle the $1000 perambulators, pull out a gazillion toys, blankets, breast feed w/little care. Their statement: we own the world, one plucky baby at a time . . . but I digress.
It seems as if my new book club, although fairly nice and inviting, is a Married Women’s Book Club, although it does not say that on the invite. Casual picnic plans, movie nights and outside activities all get RSVP-ed by “WE will be there” or “WE will try, if WE can get a babysitter.” What a pressumption. Maybe the next meet up I’ll bring Zephyr plop him down on the floor w/his loudest squeaky toy and proceed w/smiles. Maybe, I’ll bring by gay man friend and throw his sparkly self into the mix. Oh, that would be so much fun. . .
Until then, I await a response from a VERY delicately written e-mail I sent to the mediator about an upcoming dinner night. Members only? Couples? I did NOT say everything I wanted to say, bit instead was terribly polite and gentile. Not me at all.