Aaaaaand, we’re off! Our long-awaited New York/New Haven trip is this weekend, and I’ll probably be in one of those two places as you read this. In typical Fulwiler fashion, we’re going to jam a week’s worth of activity into a weekend trip, so it’s not exactly going to be a relaxing vacation. But the chaos of running to catch planes and trains and taxis is a different kind of chaos than what I usually deal with here at the house, so it’ll be nice to have a change of pace.
My generous mom took me shopping to get some clothes for the trip, and the experience reminded me: I wish that stores offered some kind of Introvert badge you could wear for the duration of your visit. I’m picturing a bright red button that you could clip to your clothes, perhaps with a message like, I’m Not Rude, I’m Just an Introvert! Employees could then be required to take Introvert Awareness classes, where they would do role playing exercises, with instructors shouting things like, “Stop! You just made eye contact! Too aggressive.”
At one store in particular, I started to get the impression that they mainly hire former stalkers as their floor staff. I kept waiting in the dressing room until I thought I was alone, then I’d try to sneak over to the full length mirror to check out the outfit. But no sooner would I have cracked the door than an employee would materialize at my side, hovering within a two foot radius of me and asking, “DO YOU LIKE THAT, JENNIFER? WHAT WOULD YOU WEAR THAT WITH, JENNIFER? I LOVE THAT COLOR ON YOU. DO YOU LOVE THAT COLOR ON YOU, JENNIFER?” She seemed very nice, but I just about had to use the dressing room stool as a fainting couch because I was so overstimulated by the constant interaction.
This is going to sound strange given what I just wrote, but our trip is filled with non-stop socializing, and I’m excited about that. Not only are there the dinners for my husband’s fraternity reunion, but we have breakfasts and lunches and after-dinner meetups scheduled each day as well. One of my favorite things in the world is to get together with friends and catch up; what makes me an introvert is that a) it’s tiring for me (e.g. that’s not how I unwind after a hard day), and b) I’m overwhelmed with situations like I described in take #2…Or maybe an extrovert would struggle with that too. I kind of pictured that extroverts just love having people they don’t know buzzing in their personal space all the time, but maybe I’m way off with that.
My husband asked me if I wanted to go to the game on Saturday. Originally I had said no. As someone who attended both Texas A&M and the University of Texas, I’m not sure that what the Harvard and Yale teams will be doing on the football field that afternoon can really be considered the same sport as what we did on Saturdays where I went to school. (And I assure you that folks up there never get tired of Big 12 grads putting the word football in air quotes when they refer to the game that Ivy League teams play.) However, there was a key piece of information that I had completely forgotten about when I made this decision, and it was something big: The tailgates. When I ponder the Harvard/Yale tailgate scene, I feel like I have found my people. The Ivy Leagues may not have the top-tier, smashmouth football that you’d see at something like the Texas-OU game, but they make up for it with their world-class tailgates. To wit:
The Yale St. Thomas More Center sent out this picture from last year’s tailgate:
Let’s just go through what we see here one by one. At this tailgate, we have: A Vatican flag; heated indoor seating; crystal wine goblets; chilled white wine; Champagne; a shrimp tray (partially hidden behind the bottle of Vodka); fresh-cut flowers; orange juice (for mimosas, no doubt); lemon-infused water; and a station for mixing Bloody Marys.
This, my friends, is how you throw a tailgate party. I didn’t think anything could be more my kind of thing than an Ivy League tailgate. But now I have discovered the world of Catholic Ivy League tailgates, it’s like I know what God wants me to do with my life.
I’d been feeling kind of stressed about flying, but it’s helped to realize that that’s mainly because it’s unfamiliar. I’m a claustrophobic control freak, so it comes naturally to me to be uneasy about getting on planes; but when I used to do it all the time, my fears almost completely subsided. I keep thinking about this: Let’s say that I somehow went for a few years where I traveled everywhere by plane. A pilot would land in front of my house to take me to the grocery store, to pick up the dry cleaning, etc. I rarely used any other form of transportation. If I then had to take a long car trip with someone, it would undoubtedly feel scary in comparison to flying. After all, the driver wouldn’t have the specialized training that pilots do; the car wouldn’t have had the careful maintenance checks that planes do; and, statistically, car travel is much more dangerous than air travel. Anyway, going through that thought exercise has helped me put my anxiety about flying in place.
Well, I didn’t mean for all seven takes to be trip-related, but that’s what’s on my mind as I scramble to get everything ready. I hope you all have a great weekend!