I have a history of getting things wrong.
A former boyfriend used to refer to it as “Jennifer’s Social Follies,” this tendency of mine to miss an important detail, say the wrong thing, or otherwise be inappropriate. For example, I once left a voicemail joking about the recipient being “off clubbing seals” at the number of someone’s girlfriend who was actually an Inuit indian – I did not know it was her number.
I have shown up at birthday parties on the wrong day, or without gifts at parties that expressly stated “no gifts” just to be the only one who didn’t actually bring a gift. I arrived at my son’s orchestra recital at 6:10, believing it started at 6:30, and walked into the auditorium to find his fellow violinists had been playing on-stage since 6:00.
I attended the Mother’s Day Tea at Ella’s school wearing khaki capri pants and flip-flops only to see every.other.mother. in crisp linen pants and hats, wearing chunky jewelry and freshly blown-out hair.
I swear too loudly. I wear the wrong shoes. I say “jesus” in exasperation over and over again in front of highly religious people. I say things that are accidentally offensive. I let secrets slip. I have had friendships terminated on the other end without knowing what I did. I am witty, but also impulsive – not a good combination.
I get it wrong alot.
It’s funny, sure, but it is also frustrating. Embarrassing. I often feel like I am in the wrong place, like a coffee mug stuck in with the wine glasses, or a dancer just a few beats out of step and always, ALWAYS trying to catch up.
As I sat on the stage at Listen to Your Mother, trying not to freak out because my girdle was folding over onto itself, the lights warmed my face and my castmates’ voices strummed a gentle rhythm in my brain, and I knew that I was exactly where I wanted to be for the first time in a very long time. When it was my turn to read to the audience, I moved to the microphone like it was something I’d done hundreds of times before. Everything was just the way it should have been – the laughter, the people, the mood.
Turns out, it is possible to drink wine from a coffee mug – and some actually prefer it.
It was truly an amazing evening.
Thanks, LTYM-RDU for helping me to finally, FINALLY get it right.