“I got in!”
“Did you get in?” My husband is either really good at asking questions I just answered, or he’s really bad at time traveling.
Indeed I had gotten a space at the biennial Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. I’d committed, in mind, body, and finances, to hanging with talented artists who write from the heart, from the funny bone, and from the back of the closet within arm’s reach of stashed bags of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. (What? Just me?)
While being an introvert has its advantages – after I suggested “long nap” as an activity for a kindergarten class party, no one dares ask me to be a room parent – walking into a conference with hundreds of strangers is daunting. Still, I felt oddly compelled to try to attend this one, in ways utterly unlike how I feel compelled to do laundry every few months.
Missing this workshop, despite having young children at home and house clutter that has taken on a life of its own and applied for its own Social Security card, felt unimaginable.
I’m not sure why. I knew no one who had attended before or was planning on attending this time. I was registering solely based on website descriptions of the event. In a surge of optimism that is so unlike me I may have gotten a cramp, I was convinced the event would be Bombeckish –fun, funny, warm. Kind of like getting a warm hug and a giggle after tripping in ill-fitting shoes. (I’m not even going to pretend like that doesn’t happen to me several times a week.)
“I got in,” I told my husband.
Then I panicked.
Sure, I write humor, but not always. I’m funny, but not always. I write about family life, but not always. I don’t have a book ready to pitch. I’m not a standup comedian. Was this a mistake?
But there had to be a reason I’d set three alarms for the online registration. I knew space at the workshop would be limited, and I’d heard the slots go quickly. If I didn’t get in, I’d have to wait two years to try again, and after telling my three kids to stop hiding vitamins in the couch cushions for another two years, I’ll be unable to go because I will have sunken, defeated, into the couch and become one with the throw pillows (and the gummy vitamins smashed thereupon.)
There had to be a reason I was sad rather than relieved when, at go time on registration day, the site crashed. (I’m sure I didn’t contribute to it with my multiple windows opened to the registration page, and my phone also open to the site, and asking my husband to check online as well.)
There had to be a reason that, once the gremlins were out of the system (way to go, tech wizards!), I registered with excitement and then booked a hotel room…at the wrong hotel – but, still, points for me for remembering that it’s more socially acceptable to sleep in a room than curled up in an ice machine.
“I got in,” I said again, my voice wavering.
“That’s good,” he said. “This is perfect for you. These are your people.”
Ah. THAT was the reason. My people.
I can’t wait to meet them.