(Disclaimer: I’m cleaning out my drafts and this was originally written in August 2017. It was 90% done, so now it’s finished and published.)
I don’t socialize with my coworkers anymore. I used to. There used to be a time when we’d go out for drinks and dinner after work and I would help them move and drive them to airports and loan them money and listen to them complain about (insert relationship here) and go to their kids Christenings and bake for them and fix their hems and all other sorts of things a coworker-turned-friend would do. But then I always got too close. And I always got screwed.
“June” though, is different. She doesn’t work with me directly on a day to day basis (she’s on of my business contacts). We see each other outside of the office every six months or so, or when either of us has a life crisis and needs to cry/bitch/wallow to the other. We can shut down a restaurant (we will tip you very well to leave us alone) and talk for hours. There is no judging, no taking advantage of and tons of laughter in this friendship.
The way it should be, right?
So this summer, it really took a lot for me to finally accept the invitation to the Out East Hullabaloo from one of my coworkers, Magee. I’ve been getting this annual invite for 10 years or so and I always turned it down even though it was only 15 minutes from our beach house. Magee and I get along (despite him almost killing me- a story for another day) but I just couldn’t bring myself to go to his house and socialize with the all the other people in my department that he invited.
Enter my wing man, June. She couldn’t go to the Hullabaloo last year, but this year she really wanted to go-she wanted to step out of her comfort zone after ending her 13 year relationship and have a good time. I was doubtful about the good time, but I agreed to go. If it was unbearable, at least we’d be drinking.
Surprise, surprise- it was one of the best times I’ve had in a very, very long time.
MR, June and I showed up very early and paid our $2 each to compete in the Horseshoe Tournament. We slapped our name tags on, grabbed some beers and sat down under one of the umbrella tables next to the pool.
I wasn’t expecting this. His house was nice, the grounds and pool were beautiful and his family was so kind and so welcoming. We chatted with relatives, family friends and long-time attendees of the Hullabaloo (this was the 20th year). We made a few connections, exchanged a few email addresses, cooed over babies and dipped our feet in the pool. June the Mermaid eventually jumped in while I hovered over her hoping she wouldn’t drown (it was deep and she is short and not an experienced swimmer). Then MR and I were called for our round of horseshoes.
Horseshoes are awesome.
Let’s just say that I am now called The Ringer. All those years of bowling league and all those years of dart tournaments certainly helped my aim, stance and arm in horseshoes. I took off my sandals, hiked up my skirt and MR and I made it to the final four round. The hardcore throwers couldn’t believe I was keeping up with them (MR was a natural, of course- he was really the backbone of our team) and soon the trash-talk began. I don’t play that so I was glad we were finally beaten and that opposing team went on to win. After the tournament, these big, gruff guys came over to us and gave me a big hug and complimented me on my game and didn’t believe us when we said I had never played before.
It’s nice when you’re good at something, even if it is a fluke, and people recognize that. It doesn’t happen often, lol. It’s also nice to find a group of people you enjoy hanging around with. The Hullabaloo will be something we’ll be going to again.
If we’re invited back. Nobody likes a ringer.