Tal and I went to a party last night. For many that would not be particularly noteworthy, but for us ... Well, I'll simply say it turned out to be an event requiring determined coordination worthy of a space launch. That it was cold and raining and that the party was in Columbia -- about 150 miles round trip -- after dark didn't help matters.
All this was planned by a friend whose sister was visiting. She has vacationed in South Carolina for more than two decades and so knows many people, people who want -- and expect -- to see her when she's here. To keep the two of them from being wined, dined, entertained and out every night during her visit, my friend gathered every one in a central location -- namely, the new Hilton Columbia Center next to the Columbia Convention Center, a lovely and most accommodating site.
It was truly a wonderful couple of hours, a mingling of people who knew each other in most cases or who had at the very least heard about the others there from my friend and his sister. A room full of reunion. When the hotel staff unobtrusively, but surely, began clearing the buffet table at the time the party was to end, many of us left reluctantly, lingering in the lobby before dispersing into the wet shiny night.
As Tal and I pulled away from the curb, I realized how happy I was that we had made the effort to come to town, acutely aware of how much I hadn't wanted to leave home. Most of the determined coordination required to get out the door wasn't about timing the trip or getting the dogs fed before we left or deciding what to wear or the January weather. I am increasingly reclusive and I know it, and Tal could never be catagorized as a party animal.
We both tend to want to be reasonably certain that going out is going to be worth the effort -- not the effort of getting ready or of getting there, but the effort of the interaction required once we get there.
In many cases it isn't. Last night it was.