My original Monday plan was to go to a Writing group meeting after work. There was a blip in this plan, but it worked out eventually.
I have realized quite recently that having a wife who is estranged but still living in the same house means that I sometimes have easy access to that most precious thing that so many families desire … free babsitting.
My girls are not ‘babies’ anymore, but the idea that I can leave for work in the morning and arrive home late at night to find them asleep and the house in any kind of presentable state is laughable. And it’s not fair or reasonable for them to be left alone for so long.
Other than meeting fellow Board members (who are often friends) for coffee and discussions, and getting out to play tennis with sundry locals, my social life has been primarily focused around couples that are friends with my wife and/or I.
In my new situation, it’s a little difficult to invite other couples and/or families over for dinner and find just the right time to mention that, guess what, my wife is now living in the basement and won’t be joining us for dinner. More bisque anyone?
With the free baby-sitting exploit in play, I was free to meet other people with an interest in writing. God knew that I knew nobody at all in the group, so He made all the traffic lights go green on my journey and cleared most of the roads for me. And He found me an excellent and free parking space very close to the meeting place, an Irish pub.
All of this special effort on His part (Note: please God, consider doing this for me one day on the way to work, alright?) meant that I was very early. And alone.
How odd. I was in a pub by myself. I had about 30 minutes to kill before the rest of the group should start to show up. I bought a drink and settled in with my notepad, looking idly at the people around me. It’s been a good many years since I’ve felt like an outsider looking in on other people’s lives. Most of the time, I’m with other people on some outing, trip, or event. But everyone else was being social and chatting away noisily and I was just an observer.
I didn’t feel bad about it, but it made me remember those days when I didn’t have as a big a network of family, friends, and acquaintances and would feel awkward in groups I didn’t know.
Fortune smiled on me; the organizer was early too and she and I chatted about the group until the usual writers arrived. It was a lot of fun bouncing ideas around this diverse group and an interesting first step in finding my social feet again.