Last night, four of our six went on a progressive outing. I say progressive, because it didn't turn out exactly like we imagined.
A week or so ago, Elizabeth put out a call for anyone available and interested to go hear an author read at an indie book store. Several of us had enjoyed the author's previous novels, so we made a date.
Then, near the end of the week, Elizabeth read in the paper that Tatiana de Rosnay was making a guest appearance at a special screening of the movie based on her book, Sarah's Key. The very same night! As you can imagine, we all jumped over to the new boat pretty fast. Pamela and Kim were disappointed they couldn't attend because of plans already made, but life is more than authors, right?
After a little confusion due to a scheduling and venue change (and we did accuse Elizabeth of dreaming it when none of us could find a single hint of this event anywhere on the internet), we firmed up our plans.
So last night, the four of us (Elizabeth, Joan, Susan, and I) trekked from our various jobs and residences through the jungle that is Dallas traffic to the Studio Movie Grill on Royal Lane. Elizabeth arrived more than two hours early, hoping to ensure places in line for all four of us.
The traffic didn't cooperate and Joan and I both arrived only an hour or so before show time. There were tons of people already there. A couple in front of us had even brought lawn chairs and laptops to wait in relative comfort in the (thankfully indoor) line. Around seven, managers began to count off people in line, and it looked as though we had a chance of getting in as the counting kept going well past us. But VIP guests kept showing up and narrowing the field. Finally, the manager announced that those behind the four of us in line wouldn't be getting in.
Up to that point, people were fairly civil, but then it became a little dicey. A couple of ladies behind us complained loudly and not nicely that a few of our group had arrived after them and it wasn't fair.
I wasn't prepared for a free movie ticket smack down. I turned to the manager and said, "She's right. We have other things we can do, so go ahead and let them enjoy the movie." We stepped out of line quickly. (I think I was a lot nicer than she was, and was a little annoyed she didn't say thank you in return, but people are who they are. I feel good about how we handled it, and that's what really matters.)
We stood in the hot sun outside the entrance trying to make a new plan. At first, we thought we'd continue on to the author reading, but when we discovered it was 18 more miles up Central Expressway, it became an obvious no go. There was no guarantee we'd make it through the traffic in the thirty minutes before it started or that there would be seats when we got there.
So, we went for the easy and convenient plan—Thai food at a restaurant right around the corner. Aisan Mint! Good stuff!
We sat there for nearly three hours. We talked about life.
Yes, husbands and children! Our manuscripts. Food. Querying agents. Dogs. Story problems. Travel. In-laws. Ancestor and character names. Teenagers. Novels.
It's possible we touched on more topics in three hours than we'd addressed with loved ones and nearby friends in three weeks. I know I did. When we get together, there's just an instant click.
At many points, we laughed, realizing we'd gone from one topic to another to another without ever finishing the first and we had to back up for a minute.
The point is that it didn't really matter what we did last night. It didn't really matter—though we were disappointed we didn’t get to see the movie and even sadder we didn’t get to see Tatiana de Rosnay or the other author in person. Our heroes, our mentors. It didn't matter that we had to deal with the inconveniences of traffic or people being bad sports.
What mattered is that we got to see our friends with skin on instead of the usual email exchanges and occasional Facebook or text interactions. We got to see facial reactions and body language. We got to watch what dishes we each ordered—it says something! We got to snicker together about others around us that entertained or amused us. We got to laugh at each other.
We got to exchange hugs before we went our separate ways again.
We were with our tribe. Women who read. Women who write.