I'd thought the "Spring Fling" was optional, in the don't-bother-with-it category, but then realized I was expected to attend if I was able. After all, the charity it was benefiting was my employer. So I asked around a bit about dress code expectations- party dress, not too formal. I spent one morning trying on all the dresses in my closet that I never wear. I shopped around Atlanta for a new dress and found nada. The styles weren't working on me. I found a casual skirt I could wear on Easter, for something new, but settled on my old little black dress for the gala. It was simple- my black slingbacks are about the most comfortable shoes I own, so not buying a dress also saved me from having to buy new shoes that I'd seldom wear and probably not find comfortable.
Then Wednesday evening I got sick to my stomach. Although Thursday I went to work, I began to feel lousy by the end of the day. Friday I couldn't decide if I felt well enough to attend the gala or if I even wanted to feel well enough. I'd mentioned feeling poorly to a few people at work, partially to explain myself on Thursday, but also realizing that I was setting up an alibi in case I wimped out and decided to skip it.
I ate a bit of food Friday which went down fine but didn't revive me. When I stopped working on reports at one I warmed up some leftover lentils to eat. They were good and left me feeling a little more energetic. The final deciding factor would then be the shower. If I finished it feeling drained and tired, I'd have the excuse to skip the gala- clearly sick. If I felt well, I'd call around and try to find someone to drive with.
I showered, shaved, lotioned... and felt well. Patty, who lived near me was happy to share the ride, but wanted to leave early. Perfect. Just a matter of psyching myself into being excited about the party. And part of me was. There are some very fun women who fit the "Party Girl" label who I knew would drag me onto the dance floor if I so much as said "hi.' Having a good time would be a decision, not a reaction.
The other part of me dreaded looking old, dumpy, under/over-dressed, and most of all, having to stand around while other people socialized, but not knowing many people myself. The problem with teachers socializing outside of school is that we seldom get a chance to socialize during the day, since we're always with kids. There are a handful I enjoy chatting with for the few minutes we have each day and I've helped in many of the classrooms, but I don't know anyone I work with very well.
I read through the auction book and pointed out a few items to CD. No, I wouldn't bid on the trip to Tuscany (starting bid $5000) but what about the week in Myrtle Beach (starting bid $450)? What was a Braves baseball package worth, with either club seats or front row seats? He wanted the reverse of a charity auction, where instead of bidding up the price, we'd bargain the price down. I told CD that he was cheap and that I loved him and that I might bid on things... but conservatively.
I put on my little black dress. Bug suggested that maybe I needed something under it. (Maybe a turtleneck? I'm not sure what he was intending.) Pook brought up the possibility that everyone else might be in jeans and sweatshirts. (Thanks, kids.)
We arrived to a cheerful crowd near an open bar. They were serving pink "Springtinis." "Um, ginger ale please." The first people I saw were the Pope's parents. Since I email his mom every school day, I know her as well as any co-workers. I enjoyed talking with his parents, but it kept veering into shop talk and the Pope's school progress so I took an opportunity to move on.
This was a move which didn't fare well as I then spent the next ten minutes floating without finding a soul I recognized. Finally familiar faces walked in and I latched on. I spent most of the evening near them. It didn't matter if we had anything to talk about anyway; the music was much too loud for talking. We went for food, ate some (awesome) shrimp and grits, and more ginger ale since diligent wait-staff had cleared mine away.
We were reminded to look at the silent auction items around the room, so I did. My search for the Myrtle Beach paper revealed a still-empty auction form. I put down the starting bid of $450 and decided that our family would have our summer plans set by the end of the evening. (I also bid $65 for a $150 gift certificate to the World of Beer, but since I don't know if I won or not, don't tell CD.)
I picked up a Springtini, discovered they were being very liberal with the booze, and never had more than a few sips. The shrimp had not been a great idea for my stomach and grapefruit juice and vodka were not going to help. The "Party Girls" were dancing, as I expected, so I put in one dance before the band stopped for some auction action.
Patty came to see if I was ready to leave at that point and I decided I might as well. My stomach was not misbehaving, but not well either. We slipped out, mostly unnoticed. I was a bit disappointed- an open bar on a lovely night and I wasn't drinking or dancing. But there's always next year. And there might be Myrtle Beach.