Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dinner With Old Friends

August 17, 2010

My husband always laughs at me for saying that I'm surprised when people from my past remember me. I just have always considered myself a bit of a shy, retiring type, especially in comparison to my very outgoing, gregarious sisters. I spent much of my younger days trying pretty hard to be the proverbial wall-flower, fairly successfully, blending in with the background. Small talk was always painfully difficult for me, and truth be told, still is, if you are not among the circle of people who know me best. For one who loves language and word-play and witticisms, there is always a bit of fear that I simply won't be able to keep up and that my contributions will be banal and mundane in light of the sparkling repartee around me.

So, honestly, I was a bit intimidated when recently a very old friend from high school came into town. He and his fiance were meeting up with some mutual friends for dinner, and invited me to join them. I don't think I'd seen Steve for over twenty years, but of course we had reconnected a bit through Facebook. Steve and Kim and Tim, the other couple who were joining us, were all in drama together with my sister for several years in high school, and since Lisa and I were so close in high school, many of her friends became my friends. Drama. Yes, with a flair for the dramatic, all of them. Engaging, enthusiastic, and animated story-tellers. And me. Not so dramatic--and lacking quite a bit of the shared history of the group. I wondered if I wouldn't be quite the fifth wheel--a silent and rather clunky one at that. So what did I do? I brought along a sixth wheel! It speaks well of my hubby that he was sport enough to go along and join me, since he is even less of a small-talker, and shares even less history with these friends.

As often is the case, though, I needn't have worried. Shared history or not, Kim, Tim, Steve, and Trish were delightful company, and we sat and shared stories and caught up with each other with ease. We traveled through high school and old friends and who-knows-where-she-ended-up and whatever-happened-to-him. We traveled through life's experiences and families and children and dogs. We meandered through careers and we wandered through beliefs. We traversed a lot of ground in that evening, casually, comfortably, just like the old friends that we are.

Ten years ago, I would have talked myself out of going, out of fear and self-consciousness, silly as that seems. The more I've pushed past that little voice and broken out of my shell in the past several years, the more I realize the kinds of things I used to miss out on, and the more I realize how satisfying it can be to choose to be visible.

1 comment:

  1. I love it Donna! I know how you feel, I am so shy too. :) Going to that dinner was very brave.