I have had my share of embarrassing moments in life. I am short, have horrible eyesight, wore braces on two different occasions, and I have a hard time pronouncing words like spaghetti, hamburger, and supposedly. I get nervous talking to co-workers, my jokes are only good in my head, and my ‘go-to’ line in heated arguments is ‘Oh really!’
I don’t want to brag, but I am intelligent and have beautiful eyes- at least that is what my mother tells me. So, two decent genes out of the thousands that I could have gotten. However, that statement that if you are smart, you don’t do well socially- that is very true! I have 100 different stories to share, but this one is the one that I still think about in the shower. I call it the night that I got voted off the island.
October 9th, 2020, was my first day off in months, maybe years. Felt like generations. Okay, it was only 11 days, but you understand my feeling of complete tiredness and lack of motivation to do anything. But I had a list. Things that needed to happen:
1. Finish the laundry
2. Mop the floors
3. Clean up the puppies hiding spot that is currently holding 4 rolls of toilet paper, 3 bills that should probably be paid, and all of my socks
4. Finish winterizing the house windows because every morning, there is a thin layer of ice over my car.
Simple list but slightly time-consuming. I even wrote it out on my phone and put an alarm on so I would stay focus.
What did I do? I went to Walmart and got my youngest a new t.v. that works, a new 3″ copper-infused bed topper that is supposed to make me feel 20 again, and mascara. Then a trip to Barnes and Noble for books on topics that I am researching. And finally, I helped my middle child take some garbage to the dump. Actually, I watched him do that and kept him entertained with funny Facebook memes. I then spent the afternoon on my couch researching/reading in-between my naps. I also helped my youngest edit his school paper and realized that he is a better writer than me. That led to some day drinking, let me tell you.
Perfect day, right? Until that night! We were invited over to my husband’s co-workers’ home for dinner. It was a couple that we had done a few things with. Drinks at a local hole-in-the-wall bar that only real Alaskans know about, dinners at each other’s homes, we had even gone on a family trip together. So, our families were pretty intertwined. Right?
The wife and I, we will call her Susie, didn’t really have a lot in common. Our husbands were good friends, always hunting and fishing together, so we really did try to be good supporters and found common ground by default. We did not always agree on everything. We disagreed on most things- family, kids, politics, religion, higher education, women’s rights. You name it; we probably disagreed. But our husbands were friends, so we would make the friendship work with lots of coffee and wine.
I had known that I had upset Susie a couple of weeks earlier over a conversation about our husband’s work-place environment. Susie was upset about whatever was happening, and I just didn’t care and didn’t want to get involved. I had never even been in the building my husband works in, and if I passed any of his co-workers in Fred Meyers, I wouldn’t know to greet them. That is how little I cared. I thought it was a reasonable stance to take. A solid stance.
It seems that my lack of position upset her more than I knew. I was nervous heading over to the home because I knew that she was upset. But if she had invited the family- she must have been offering an olive branch! I walked in with my husband and children, ready to put aside the difference and forge forward.
Let me tell you what I walked into. Susie was there with her sister, both of them drinking wine. Her children on the couch watching their iPad’s while the T.V. had some cartoon on it. Pleasantries were passed around, my husband went with her husband to the garage to look at some new toy, and Susie and her sister went back to talking. I was standing in the middle of the living room with nowhere to sit and no one talking to me. My 17-year-old son, standing next to me, whispered, ‘What do we do now?’
I didn’t know. Susie wasn’t telling her children to move so that the adults could sit down; she wasn’t even looking my way. My youngest slumped against a wall and started watching YouTube. My other son and I went to the dining room and sat at the table, far away from everyone. We sat there for 30 minutes, and then I had to get out and have a smoke break. I needed fresh air. I was humiliated. My son watching as I was fuming and holding back the tears of frustration. Was this payback for a disagreement about something that I have nothing to do with?
While outside, working on my second smoke- my husband comes out and starts talking to me about how rude I was being. That I needed to get over myself and that I was making the whole house uncomfortable.
What the heck?
He wants me and Susie to work this out. That I need to talk to her and find out what is wrong and make it better.
Now, I have been humiliated in front of my children, and I was getting yelled at?
Somehow it is decided that Susie and her husband should come out to the front yard, and we should all talk. I knew that this wasn’t going to go well. We were on her turf. Her sister was sitting in the house- she had all the cards in her hand. I was off my game. I was not comfortable, and I didn’t have a coffee.
Needless to say, my husband does not heed my warning and goes to get the whole gang. Yea! This is going to be a family affair.
She comes down her front stairs like a woman on a mission. She would continue punishing me for not agreeing with her, and my husband just gave her an audience. I lit another smoke and waited for the showdown to start.
This is what happened. That our husbands are ‘besties,’ but she didn’t need to be my friend. She said that I came into her house and disrespected her and her sister by sitting in the dining room. Why didn’t I just sit on the floor? I was told that I was starting drama in her front yard and she would not allow it. I was told that I was not welcomed in her home.
I could see the heads of her children and sister watching from the front window laughing. My son was standing behind me, watching the whole thing. My husband had actually moved around to the other side of the car. He left me to take all the abuse alone.
Susie walked back into the house and told my youngest to leave. We all got into the truck and took off. I had nothing to say. Did that really just happen? Knowing that he had had a hand in all this mess, my husband tried to make jokes about that not going the way that he thought it would. At 7:30 p.m., my family ended up at Fat Burger getting dinner.
I did not win the fight; I was voted off the island, I had to walk the plank. Usually, this would not bother me; well, it still doesn’t. But it got me thinking. What was the fight really about? I still don’t know if all this was because I disagreed with getting involved in our husband’s place of employment, or was it something else? I will never know.
I was up all night, tossing and turning. Of course, my husband was sleeping peacefully. It didn’t bother him. He was still invited over to their home; he just couldn’t come with our kids or me. That moment taught me something about myself; I was okay with not being her friend. I might be socially awkward and have horrible jokes. I might be the person who tries to engage in conversation with historical references that no one cares about. But I like me. I am okay with all my faults, and I didn’t need Susie’s friendship to prove that I was part of the ‘cool group.’
Besides, she didn’t make a good pot of coffee…