In the midst of all my angst about life’s questions and growing older, I took time out last night with my wife Sandi to attend a local charity wine tasting expo.
We hadn’t planned on going since it is a rather pricey affair and were getting ready to leave the house and grab some dinner at the Thai restaurant in downtown Boone, when Sandi’s cell phone rang. Several minutes later we had been given tickets to the wine tasting and needed to change from jeans to something more fitting an “expo” type event.
I guess that is the benefit of being an almost empty-nester older couple who ordinarily have no plans for Saturday evening—we are available for these last minute change of plans.
So, we got ready, drove into town and met the couple with the extra tickets. Once inside, we ditched our coats, showed our tickets and were given our wine glass to keep for the evening. As there were a possible 200 wines to taste and lots of fresh food from local gourmet restaurants to eat, we began our evening at one of the wine merchant tables and followed that first taste with a little shrimp and grits to go with it.
At this juncture I could say that we had a wonderful evening, ate some good food, drank responsibly and met a lot of people we’d not seen in quite some time. But that would be much to simple and almost miss the point of why I am telling this little story.
As we moved through the huge crowd during our more than two hour stay, I was struck by the odd thought that the only difference between this event and an extraordinary Halloween party was that people were dressed in different costumes. It was almost like 90210 come to life as groups of smiling happy people passed us with glasses raised and garments glowing. I was surrounded by people and I myself was a part of those surrounding others who had come to have a good time and for this very short moment in time, the rest of the world didn’t exist. In one sense I felt that we could hide behind our happiness as one would hide behind a costume at a Halloween party. In this crowd, one could be anyone that one wanted to be and I do believe that most chose to be happy, successful and full of hope.
Not that any of this is fake—the contrary is true. It’s like that old Beatles song that says, “everybody’s got something to hide except me and my monkey”. Knowing this and the fact that everyone has a story to tell, it is amazing to see a large group of people projecting part of the image of who they really are for you and me to see. Not that we are like this all the time, thus the Halloween costume party analogy. There are certain situations when we feel safe to let other people see pieces of us that are normally held back in the everyday, work-a-day world.
At this point I have probably lost myself and you as well. All of this might just be a part of my imagination or my skewed vision of some sort of hyper-real reality buzz. None the less, last night, I would have been quite happy to set up a booth in the corner of that grand ballroom and with glass in hand, listen to every story that each person had to tell and only left as the clock struck twelve and Cinderella left the building.
If the shoe fits, wear it. Enjoy your ride!