When we first moved to Maui, I joined a bookclub. It was the first connection I made on my own, friends that were friends with ME - not friends of friends. There's a difference, you know. Between someone choosing to be your friend, or just being friendly because you have a friend-in-common.
My point is, I found my tribe with these women. They took me under their wing, included me and supported me through all these years. And the bookclub was a way for me to have something to do, something to look forward to in this new place full of strangers and strangeness. I was home alone with a new baby, and I knew a total of 4 people on island. I was lonely, and bored. Really, really bored. And suddenly I found that I was not alone. That there were tons of stay at home moms who were also bored. So they started up this book club. And one of the members - a mommy at the playground - invited me to join.
In the beginning, it was a very serious bookclub. We were all stuck at home with kids, and this was our major source of intellectual stimulation. So we read the book, read the study guide, even. Had lists of deep and probing questions to discuss earnestly. Did research at the library and online. Handed out photocopies of background information. The entire meeting was focused on the book - discussing, analyzing, listening and learning.
But now that the kids are all in school and we are working and running businesses and driving carpools and doing all the other things we do to keep everyoe's lives running smoothly, well....bookclub has changed. Now, we are lucky if everyone has finished the first chapter. We have have to have a Cliffs Notes-style summary of the book and then the person hosting has to lead everyone in some sort of discussion that is at least loosely tied to the book.
It's harder than it sounds.
Like herding cats.
Cats with glasses of wine.
It will come as no surprise to you to hear that I was the one who started serving wine at meetings. The girls really took to the idea. And expanded on it. By last spring, we had a meeting that involved magic brownies, and I got completely stoned and wandered off at some point and sent the rest of the group into a panic.
Its THAT kind of book club.
This weekend I snuck away for an overnight/bookclub meeting. It wasn't much of an overnight, by the time I finished my shift at work, stopped by a birthday party to say hello, got gas and snacks, and then drove alone for an hour thru a very isolated and remote area in the pitch black darker than dark of a forest at night.
It was almost midnight when I arrived, and the pajama party was definitely over. I pulled in to the lot and saw some familiar cars but when I got out, and looked around - expecting to hear raucous laughter, or at the very least some giggling and hooting - there was silence.
I was going to have to go and find them. But I had no idea where they were. And there were 4 buildings to choose from, all dark and silent. The girls could have been anywhere. They could have been out for a moonlit swim for all I knew.
And then, I heard it.
How............un-lady-like. Well, I better be sure I find the right cottage - which would definitely not be the source of that kind of man-snore.
I crept up to a cottage and crossed the front porch on tiptoe. As I eased open the door, the snoring got louder. I stopped. Uncertain. None of my friends would be capable of making such a racket. Did someone bring their husband? Husbands are NOT ALLOWED.
I stuck my head around the door "Does anyone in here know me?" I whispered loudly (to be heard over the snoring, you see).
One of my girlfriends popped up and hissed a greeting. Another murmered. And then, of course, there was the snoring. That whole side of the room wouldn't have been able to hear a damn thing.
I turned around and crept back out. I grabbed my basket and a pillow from the car - I had been expecting a shower and a glass of wine before bed, maybe a s'more or something.....but it was not to be. Devastated by my lack of toasted marshmallows (what kind of bullshit all-girls camping trip WAS this?) I pulled on my leggings, wiggled out of my work clothes, bundled up in a sweatshirt and lay out my beach towel because I obviously wasn't going to be making my bed in the dark. I flopped down on the bunk, checked my email, and then dozed off.
Sleep doesn't come easy to me under the best, most ideal of circumstances. And in that musty bunkhouse with the snoring and the creaking of the bunkbeds, wrapped in a beach towel, stinking of cigarettes and the amaretto I had dumped on myself at work, well......I didn't really sleep.
And in the morning, I woke up with a pair of little boys underpants on my left foot (?????), a crick in my neck, and my friend standing over me.
"YOU'RE HERE!" she squealed.
"Yup. I told you I was coming. But when the hell did you all start going to bed so early?"
"Oh, we were down by the fire but then we started talking about penises and the family in the cabin over there asked us to be quiet."
For the record, the bookclub selection of the month had nothing to do with penises.
I told you, I found my tribe.
57 minutes ago