Thursday, August 22, 2013

It Pays to Volunteer

We wrapped up our annual Parish Festival last weekend with a big dinner at a local country club.  You know the drill:  cocktails and silent auction, preview of stuff for the live auction, chicken dinner,, etc.

This year I volunteered- actually I was volunteered (thanks, Stacy-- I'll remember) -- for a special job at the auction preview. One of the items up for auction was a collection of rare coins.  I was asked to help "guard" it during the cocktail hour. (You  know those Catholics once they get a few Mai Tais into them.)

My job was to dress all in black, don a pair of mirror shades and stick a fake earpiece in my ear, and then stand on one side of the display for an hour.  The other side was guarded by a very muscular young man, also all in black.  But I like to think I looked scarier.

Well.  Let me tell you I never felt more comfortable at a cocktail party in my life.  All I had to do was stand there!  No small talk, no chitchat, no wandering around pretending to be bidding on stuff!  It was great!  Really I think I've found my calling.

Anybody know their Flannery O'Connor?  Remember when she wrote to a friend, "Whoever invented the cocktail party should be drawn and quartered"?  When I first read that line I knew I'd found a kindred spirit.

Don't get me wrong, I like a Sea Breeze as much as the next writer.  It's the standing around making idle chitchat with people you barely know-- or might not know at all- that wears me out.  Really, it's exhausting.  I read somewhere that's part of being an introvert.  People make you tired.  Or maybe that was "misanthrope." I get the two mixed up sometimes.

My friends, of course, all know this.  They let me stand around them at cocktail parties, pretending I'm part of the group, while they graciously ignore me.

 I tell you there's nothing like true friendship.


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