Social Time

Most of my life is pretty isolated. I live in a tiny town of five hundred people,and all our friends have either moved away or gone in a new direction, basically shutting us out. I used to be very social, inviting people over for dinner, enjoying company, but as my house started resembling something on reality tv (Clean House, anyone?)I started to find entertaining to be more trouble than it was worth. And my darling Richie is shy, so he's only comfortable going out to the houses of people he knows well, and the people he knows well are gone. So we have each other for company most of the time until extended family arrives in the summer. Fortunately we still adore each other, but it can get a little isolated.
But I drove down to Princeton, the town where I grew up, with my niece. We're staying at my former BIL's wonderful old house (we have very convivial divorces in my family) and they're social. When we arrived a federal judge and his wife were going to be staying here, and I had a knee jerk reaction, thinking I just want to go to my room and write.
But they were darling! He was an absolute charmer, despite the fact that he testified in favor of Clarence Thomas when he was nominated to the Supreme Court, and she was lovely, giving me a hug when they retired for the night. They held hands when we sat at the table and talked, and I adored them.
The second night friends of my BIL and his wife were having a Vietnamese barbecue for Memorial Day (the friends host graduate students at Princeton). And I hemmed and hawed and said I should stay and write, and they said "Oh please" and I said "Okay" because I'm easy and it was wonderful. Sheila and Jerry were easygoing, fabulous hosts, and the students were great. I learned the Vietnamese concept of "rubber time," meaning that timing is elastic. If dinner is supposed to be at seven it could be anywhere from five to nine and more (dinner ended up at about half past nine). Rubber time sounds like my deadlines.
So I was reminded that going out and meeting strangers is really a lovely thing to do. Despite the insularity of my tiny town in Vermont, the world is full of fascinating people. I need to learn to enjoy it more.