I have a friend who always asks me, "Did you get the Halloween invite from blah blah blah?" or "Are you going to blah blah blah's 40th birthday party?" The first few times it happened and I responded that no, actually, I did not get that invite, she was always shocked. Which made it so much worse. "Huh!" she would say, like this was a puzzle. Like maybe I’d been on the original invite list but somehow something changed.
After this happened a number of times, my friend learned to be more discrete. Now she simply asks, "Did you get an invite in the mail yesterday?" This question is much less specific but not necessarily less stressful.
Because when I go to the mailbox to check and the only invite is a postcard from a woman running for judge, I'm left wondering if I am excluded once again or is this judge's fundraiser the invite my friend is taking about? And maybe it's going to be the party of the year and should I think twice before tossing the postcard?
I could call my friend and ask her but odds are, this is not the invite she is talking about.
She grew up here, so I get that her social strata is deep and rich like a tiramisu while mine is more like the after-school snack my mother always made— graham crackers topped with a swipe of canned Betty Crocker frosting.
I asked my other friend Chris about this lack of invitations. "Well, you're not for everyone," she says. "You come on a little strong."
“Like Dijon mustard?” I ask.
"Like Limburger cheese," she says.
I leave in a couple of days for Alt Summit, a big juicy blog conference in Palm Springs. The first time I went, I knew not one soul. It felt like sorority rush. So many women, mostly younger than me, and many of them Mormon who, let’s be honest, can be a little clubby. Every day I’d paste on a big smile and every night I’d retreat to my hotel room, exhausted from being so plasticky. After three days, I learned a ton but didn’t make a single real friend.
The second time I went, I decided to be my Limburger self. And wouldn’t you know, I lucked into meeting Tina on the first night. She was one of those “magnet” people who can’t help drawing people together. She’s no shrinking violet either. Very wasabi and spicy.
Through Tina, I met a gang of women whom I adore. We room together, we stay in touch, we support each other. It is a real sisterhood. A conference in Peoria, Illinois would be a blast with these friends. Luckily, we will be in Palm Springs! I’ll be back on the blog in a couple weeks to share content from the classes and talks. And maybe tales of friendship too.