In my efforts to keep my windows open, I have been finding myself busier than usual on the weekends. I have been sort of saying “yes” to more things, only without thinking of it so much as saying “yes” à la that Jim Carey movie, which just seems cheesy, am I right? So. Instead of saying “yes” I am keeping my windows open.
I am also keeping my windows open literally, I might add, to help air out the musty swampy carpet, and right now the voices of my neighbors (fights over bills, calls to children and dogs, jokes, music) are filtering into my apartment, mostly unwelcome but now at least somewhat familiar.
But the figuratively open windows — that’s not easy, see, because I am such an introvert and so not a joiner. My tendency is to say “no,” especially to things that seem unfamiliar or difficult or peopled with strangers or ripe for awkwardness. All this should mean that I would not find myself at a croquet party with a bunch of colleagues and friendly acquaintances I do not know all that well, at the home of someone I have not ever talked to. But life did find me there, and I had a great time.
All I really knew about croquet I learned by repeated viewings of the fine film Heathers, so I was already aware that croquet was based on the rule of social cliques and bitchy repartée. Murder and fake suicide optional. I did not know how to actually play the game, however. Such things turn out not to be much of an obstacle when no one in the group really knows how to play either. So croquet was actually fun.
I have also been spotted in such unlikely places as at a tailgating pig roast. Football + animal products? Is that not my own anti-matter? Well, yes. I was the only person who could look that poor dead pig in the eye without uttering a silent prayer of apology. Not that I did look the pig in the eye, but you know. The host bought a bunch of vegetables to grill, too, so there was plenty for me to eat and I had a great time. A little too great, in fact. Remind me that three Stellas is about two Stellas too many for public consumption.
I also took a somewhat spontaneous trip to Atlanta to visit my friend this past weekend — something I would normally make excuses not to do at this busy time of the school year. The time out of town was completely worth it. We visited the High museum for Friday night jazz and toured the Salvador Dalí exhibit. No pictures were allowed in the gallery, but here are a few I snapped in and around the museum:
The next day, we wandered around D’s neighborhood, having a leisurely bagel breakfast and shopping a bit. I was treated to an Atlanta phenomenon: the food cart run by the King of Pops. He makes and sells unique flavors of popsicles, which, it turns out, are just the perfect portable snack for a hot Saturday afternoon.
My weekends have been so full lately and I’m enjoying every minute of it. This weekend I’ve got friends in from out of town, the opening of another friend’s play, and hopefully a run or two. Even if the running doesn’t happen yet, I should be well enough occupied not to dwell on it.
I don’t know how long I can keep my social calendar this busy now that essays are starting to roll in and the grading cycle begins. At some point I will probably call a 24-hour blackout on socializing just so I can recharge with some alone time. It’s odd that I haven’t done that yet — odd that this far into the semester I haven’t felt the all-encompassing need to turn inward and listen for something other than the multitude of voices that surround me. Every day at work I talk to a hundred students, dozens of colleagues, countless strangers in the halls and elevators. I hear their voices (and my own) so loudly that sometimes my head is full of nothing but endlessly repeating echoes of these surface-level conversations that play themselves out again and again. Some time I’ll have to pause and clear out the noise, but for now I am enjoying the distraction. It feels different.