Recently my good friend K invited me on a little road trip to Mobile, Alabama to hear a celebrated author speak at a local college.
“Yes! I would love to go! I exclaimed happily, all the while mulling over in my head what might already be lurking on my calendar for that date.
“We can spend an extra night in Fairhope while we are there, OK?” she added. “They have the best book shop in the world and we can have dinner with my friend P and her husband M. You will love them. They will probably bring their daughter, who is adorable. It is going to be fun.” And it was. I drove over on a Monday afternoon, just in time for dinner with K and her friends. It was all delightful as was the walk we took along the water’s edge the following morning. After our walk we headed to the book shop which lived up to its reputation, then on to a few other shops, lunch and a drive into Mobile for a change of hotel and clothes before the big event, which started with a reception. The evening was gentle and inspirational. We were both glad that we made the effort.
That night as we lay in our two side by side queens, waiting for my ice cream to be delivered, K asked me, “Do you over commit yourself?”
I briefly thought about it then replied. “Well, I just rotated off one of the boards I was on so that just leaves the other one. I have to drive to New Orleans for that a couple of times a month but I really like it. Then there is the church volunteer stuff and that is about it. It isn’t as much as in years past.”
“Yeah, but what about the other stuff?” she asked, “Like family stuff and just helping out friends and you know, stuff. Over scheduling yourself.”
I pondered a bit before admitting that “Yeah, I drive the grad student in my neighborhood to the grocery store all the time, but she doesn’t have a car, so how could she get groceries if I don’t do it? And I cook for a few people. And I am doing this literary group thing, and a ladies group at church, and then there are all the readings and workshops for the play I am writing. And meetings with people about the play. Oh, and I cooked food for the guy who is helping me with that. And I am giving a bridesmaid lunch my sweet friend M. Yeah. I am having a luncheon later this week for twelve of Tom’s cousins. Gumbo and pecan pie. And the book club for the little girls in my neighborhood meets at my house a few times a month. . And there is my other book club, but that one only meets once a month. Of course I have to read the book. And I am helping with this thing at the university. And I am driving my friend M to her granddaughter’s wedding in New Orleans next week. And there is the…….I guess I do try to do a lot.”
“Me too,” she confessed. “But I like it all. I love working with my weavers! They are sooo much fun. And I want to start a class for people who have never done that sort of thing. And I walk with my friend B every day. Then there is work, but I can do some of that from home. Oh, and …………”
The conversation went on and we sort of laughed about it all. We both admitted that we should make an effort to not spread our selves so thin, but that is difficult when you enjoy people, places and things.
I admitted that sometimes my husband looks at me hopefully as he asks what I have lined up for me or us for the weekend. On the rare occasion that the answer is nothing, we both breathe a sigh of relief. I admitted that I have recently started listening to audio books in my car because I don’t have enough time to read all the ones I want to read. As I admitted all these things, I was concurrently considering how much time the drive home would require. As I felt my lips moving I was calculating what time I would have to leave the next morning in order to make it to a yoga class. I declared to K what time I would be leaving in the morning. She would leave then too, because, of course, she had things to do. Her business was celebrating Oktoberfest so she had a full plate of a day coming up. The next morning we said our farewells and thank yous, etc. I shut my car door and rolled down my window as I started the engine.
“What time does the German music start tonight? Maybe I will come. I want to bring grandchildren.”
“Oh, around 6:00ish.”
“Good. I will be there. I just have a few things to do first, but yeah, I will be there. “