Photo credit: Kimia Zarifi@kimzifi

This was a good day. I did not expect to be able to say that. More on that later.

Yesterday I gave up on a book I was reading. I used to do that more than I do now, but I’m trying to save money on book buying, so I cut books more slack now. But I’d gotten this one free through an Amazon promotion, so no loss.

It’s sad. You read a book that’s clearly well meant, by an author with something to say. All indications are that the story might well turn out interesting.

But it’s written so badly. The author, aside from the (now expected) misspellings and grammar errors, just doesn’t know how to manipulate the tool he possesses in the English language. The writing is flaccid. Sentences and paragraphs could easily have been cut. Lines that might have been dramatic lose all their punch through redundancies and poor word choices. I had to give up on it.

But today I had a good experience, expecting little.

Some members of my high school graduation class who live in this general area have adopted a custom of late. Every time there are 5 weeks in a month (about 3 times a year) they gather on the fifth Wednesday at a bar & grill in a town near our home town. This time, no doubt made desperate by the attrition in our ranks, they invited me. And I agreed to go.

My inclination was to give it a miss. I’ve become convinced over the years that my appearance at any social event is about as welcome as the Grim Reaper’s. I am miserable, and the cause of misery in others.

But I missed our 50-year reunion, in a recent year I will not specify. So I felt I owed it to them make an appearance now.

It turned into a long drive, because Google Maps sent me around the north side of the Twin Cities to get to a destination southeast-ward. One assumes traffic was backed up on the rational routes, as is generally the case nowadays. But I was an hour early anyway. Because the guy who invited me told me noon when it was actually 1:00. If I’d gotten there alone, I’d have probably waited a while and then slunk home, feeling persecuted. But another fellow had been similarly misinformed, and we able to enjoy a mini-reunion of our own before the main contingent arrived.

And it went pretty well. I sat at one end of the long table, so I didn’t have to divide my attention left and right (that’s helpful when you’re on the autistic spectrum, as I suspect I am). I conversed pleasantly with my neighbors, none of whom had been particular friends when I was young. The woman next to me told me (to my surprise) that she belongs to a congregation of my church body. The guy across from me spoke quietly about being born again.

What do you know.

Two people in my immediate vicinity told how they’d lost adult children. That’s an experience – a world, really – of which I have no conception. The courage of ordinary folks is a wonder to me, something I can only admire.

We were young once. Now we are old. Once we were cool kids and dorks. Jocks and eggheads. Popular and pariahs. Bullies and bullied. Now, like Civil War veterans, blue and gray, we find comfort in one another, in having seen what we’ve all seen and been what we’ve all been, in a world that no longer exists.

Wow. I enjoyed a social event. I must find a way to suppress this memory, so it won’t upset my working world-view.

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