Friday, May 6, 2016
Making New Friends
The last place I expected to be on a rainy April afternoon was at a rectangular, faux wood-grain table, my butt firmly planted in a metal folding chair. I was staring chocolate caramel brownies and chocolate chip cookies as big as dinner plates in the eye, sipping Maxwell House coffee loaded with sugar. To make matters worse I was surrounded by piles of brand-new paperback books.
I had not planned on joining another book club, having ended the relationship with my previous one only a year ago. I loved the ladies in that group but I was tired of the hour long drive, the 7:30 p.m. start, and the icy, snow drifted highway in the winter time.
I had stumbled upon this small independent book shop a month earlier, after a lunch of ground turkey burgers with fresh sage mayo, blue corn chips, and perfectly mixed Arnold Palmer's, at the cafe next door. I knew the book shop was here, but had only been in once, a decade earlier. Over the past decade many book stores, large and small, have closed their doors, yet my love of the small indie book shop has only grown. I am delighted when I find one, and am only too happy to support them.
After a wander around the shop that day, I stepped up to the checkout counter with two more books I couldn't live without. One of the owners happened to be the one at the register. This was a place that knew it's regular customers, since she asked me if I was new to the shop, I said I was. We got to chatting. About this time I saw the sign on the counter listing the books their book club was reading for the rest of the year. For some reason I felt compelled to ask about their book club. The owner said they had been meeting together for almost twenty years and it met on Wednesday nights. Another night book club did not sound appealing. Then she leaned closer to me and said "We have a brand new book club meeting for the first time next week Thursday afternoon. Afternoons, brand new, first meeting; I was hooked. I bought the book and went home to read it.
I was back the next Thursday, fully prepared to not like the group. They would probably all know each other, me being the only out-of-towner. Despite all the confidence I have gained over the last four years through my photography and writing, those adolescent insecurities still lurk just below the surface. I also tend to be someone who imagines the worst case scenario.
As it turns out only two of the gals knew each other, more as acquaintances than as friends. Most of the ladies were newer to the area, being transplanted there by jobs or retirement. We were all looking to make new friends.
This rainy April afternoon is the second meeting of our group. We have decided to close the group to new people, each of us feeling we want to invest in each other's lives and keep the group small. The leader of our group said if she has new people interested in a book club, she will just start another one on a different afternoon. Sitting back nibbling on my chocolate chip cookie, drinking the Maxwell House coffee loaded with sugar, I knew I had made the right decision to join another book club.