I’ve never liked parties (and it seems that is mutual since I am rarely invited). I like dinner parties. I like happy-hour gatherings. I like small BBQs and the like…but large chattering masses with overbearing background music? Not so much. The smaller the group the better. Me and Sal is the best. After that, it’s a crapshoot.
Notable exception as of this week: Boat Bash 2017. Bachelor S had been hinting at having another fish-fry dinner and we agreed expecting to host. But, as it turns out, he wanted to. More than that, he wanted to invite others. Three others were suggested. A small group. But he kinda kept the numbers from me til the last minute and even that was reluctantly revealed by the following conversation, “Geez, well, ya know….I do not have quite enough plates and cutlery. Could ya bring some?”
Hmmmmmm………….I know he has enough plates and cutlery for the six (total) of us originally planned for….so…..?
“Six? Oh…….unh….no….there will a be a couple more……no problem, I’ll get them to bring their own plates and forks……is there anything special you want….?
Yeah. Got any moose? (of course, I was kidding. Bachelor S lives on an old freighter, doesn’t hunt, there are no moose around here AND who has moose at a fish-fry?)
12 or fourteen people came. All but one over 55. All but three over 65. Maybe there was15 in total……some remembered to bring dishes and cutlery (not us) and the wine began to flow. You have to bear in mind that everyone came to his ‘anchored-in-the-wilds’ freighter with no connection to land by small boat. It was wet weather and everyone came Helly Hansoned up to the tip-top. Some looked able to explore the Arctic. It was a gathering of rubber-clad people and more boots than plates. Everyone was OTG to the max.
As the evening wore on, the conversation just got better and better. Not for this group the latest TV series or gadget appliance to go on and on about. Nothing about professional sports came up. No Kardashians. Hell, these folks don’t even talk about the weather and they virtually live outdoors in it all the time!
In fact, the topics were lively, political, philosophical and intelligent. This group was pretty well informed. I loved it. I just loved being there. It was great. They were great. And S surprised me with moose patties (the edible kind). Seems he knew a guy who knew a guy.
A very good party by any standards but especially by this one: At one point, there was a lull (just barely a nano-second) and I asked for their attention. “Please indulge me a minute. I will call out a topic and quickly indicate with a gesture if you know enough about it to have a discussion. OK?” They all agreed.
(I know, I know, this is clearly one the reasons I am rarely invited to parties)
I started slow. “Please raise your hands if you are all still sexually active.”
Yes, of course, that was a joke (and another reason for no invites) but, in the spirit of the moment everyone quickly raised their hands (except Sal who later claimed NOT to have heard the question). After that amusing start, I listed everything I could think of that was more complicated than Black Friday Specials, the Canucks, Trump and Harvey Weinstein – two of those topics having already been covered.
I listed NAFTA, Syria, Mike Flynn, Kim Jong Un, Site C, Liberal Party screw-ups, climate change and a few others. At least half the hands popped up on every topic and most topics had all hands popping up. I may be wrong but it seemed as if (at least on the topics I listed) these folks were well informed. And so here’s the last question:
“You guys seem pretty well informed. More so, I would guess than a similar number of folks randomly picked from the city. That may be a biased opinion but I think it is true. So here’s the obvious last question: Why are you so well informed? You have dropped out. You guys are off the grid. You guys don’t play in the mud anymore. And, if you don’t play anymore and yet know what’s going on, why aren’t you more involved? Why have you opted out?”
Ooooooooohhhhhh the answers were great. One woman shouted out, “I am tired of it all and I’m ‘f**’ing 70! They can all go f*** themselves!”
Given that she is gentle, small, kind, quiet and selfless by nature, I was on the floor…….
But other answers included, “I have done what I can.” “There is nothing we can do.” “It’s all going to hell in a handbasket but I’m happy here.” “What we are doing is the best thing to do.” “Politics is not the way.” “Modern lifestyle is screwed except for this.” “This is as good as it gets. So, in a way, we did it. Plus we got moose patties!” (Yeah, that last one was me)
That little vignette of the evening is just interesting to me….people disengaged on most every level and yet still very engaged on the thinking level have chosen this lifestyle and are very happy with their choice. In fact, the constant refrain was the expression of satisfaction, happiness and contentment with their chosen life. “This is as good as it gets!”