One fine June Sunday yours truly was suffering from the typical New York June humidity and psyching herself (unsuccessfully) to do something more productive than suffer from humidity, drink cold tea, or play Farmville. So, while my computer was traveling from one farm to another, my eyes wandered to a pile of papers on my desk that I had a vague recollection I had to do something about. I quickly skimmed through them to make sure my gas would not be turned off for being a dodo bird and forgetting to pay the bill, and here it was: the Bar Mitzva invitation I had specifically stuck in this pile in order not to forget my promised attendance.
And hence I was presented with the usual dilemma: should I keep my word and attend (once I promised I would), or forget about the whole thing, make sure all my crops were harvested, and catch the latest episode of The Glades. After about five minutes of serious deliberations I remembered why I promised to attend to begin with: aside from the fact that the mother of the Bar Mitzva boy was a nice person (even if for whatever reason she annoyed me in high school), and I was supposed to represent the clan as Beloved Sibling is currently residing in The Holy Land; the main pro argument, though, was the proximity of the celebration hall (which is within walking distance from my humble abode). So, I reasoned, if somebody would royally annoy me, I could just slip away and walk home.
Thus decided, I duly applied the war paint to my face (with the end result resembling a fat and curly Morticia Adams), put on my Shabat clothes ( they were light, 100% cotton, and NOT black) – I don't care what the current fashion dictates – the need to breath outweighs almost everything else; and finished the ensemble with my 3 buck shiny flip-flops (which matched the flowers on my skirt perfectly). After that I dug out my Vera Bradley evening bag, which, while being cute, does not really match any outfit I have – but is roomy enough to pack a paperback; the said paperback was duly packed, and I trotted off the celebration hall.
Due to years coming on time to various celebrations and then feeling like an idiot for doing so, I ended up timing my arrival perfectly – it was pretty late, and everyone was taking their places by the tables. As expected, I was seated with a bunch of former classmates – but this particular bunch was not from “oh, joy” category, so, it was not so bad. Of course, aside from somewhat flamboyant mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy, I was the only one not in black. The general conversation went over my head, as usual, but, to be fair, “girls” tried to occasionally include me in it – and I did end up catching up on a lot of mundane news and even managed to have a half-decent conversation with the “girl” seated next to me. The food was also pretty edible, plus I was saved the necessity of standing in front of the stove during such wonderful day. Dancing I decided to skip, because a) it was pretty boring, and b) I value the health of my feet too much for that. Of course, to cap off a pretty normal, if somewhat mundane, evening, in the end I had to run into a friend's husband who wanted to know, in the best “Flatbush” tradition, “what I was doing there” - the said question always reminding me that not really belonging to this glorious community is not a figment of my loner's imagination – I really don't belong.
So, basically, the evening was not as painful as those things usually are for me, the paperback was not really needed, I got fed, and even caught up with all schoolmates without too much effort on my part. But it also made me realize, once again, that people lost (or never had) the art of truly celebrating, because something is always missing in those events – something that makes it not worth my while to get dressed and put the war paint on. Ah, well, maybe it's just me.