Friday, September 11, 2009
Book club compulsion
Whew! It's over for another year. The annual hosting of "the book club" at my place and the cleaning and preparation that goes with it. My living room doesn't normally look like this--but the other night it did.
I've been meeting monthly with this group of women to discuss books for more than 17 years. We take turns hosting the group, leading the discussion and offering refreshments when it's our chosen book that's being read. It's a good group even though we're not all close friends. It began with 12 members and then a few years ago we added two more. In all that time nobody has ever left the club (except through death, when one member succumbed to Melanoma--that was a sad time!)
The thing is I know these women pretty well now and I feel comfortable with them, although it took a while because most of them are different from me. They work as consultants, managers, lawyers, and at the university. Me, I'm more the aging hippie type, left the government job years ago and spend my time jumping from one thing to another, doing a little bit of art, a little bit of writing, dog training, house renovations--and then there's the spiritual channeling thing that some of them can't even get at all. But by now I'm comfortable enough to just be myself at these meetings. S0 that's a good thing.
But--that doesn't stop me from spending two full days preparing my house and my garden when it's my turn to host the meeting. Harry and I spent one entire day weeding and clipping the garden and mowing and trimming the lawn; then the next day we deep cleaned the house from top to bottom, waxing floors, wiping fingerprints off the doors, polishing furniture. Plus I made brownies and fresh plum cobbler and purchased special olives and pates and expensive crackers, set the table with the best table cloth and china and candles.
So the meeting went well: people complimented me on my garden, everyone enjoyed the food, the book was generally well liked, we had a good discussion and some laughs. And I'm exhausted!
Why do I do this? Why is it that I feel compelled to have my house so perfect? And I know I'm not the only one. Everyone in my book club goes overboard with cleaning and preparing when it's their turn. Harry say's it's a "girl thing" and maybe he's right. But what is it about a group of women coming to our houses that make us do this? Some weird kind of competition?
Well I do know one thing--my house is cleaner than it's been since the last time I hosted the book club. And now I'm free to enjoy meeting at the other "girls" houses until my turn comes again next year.