Today, at about 11AM, I got a call from a friend of mine at church who happens to live pretty close to where I live now. I have had the chance to eat for the Night To Be Much Observed as well as a few dinner parties at his house, and the food is good and the conversation enjoyable . Generally speaking, there is a purpose when I am invited to eat over at this place. Either there is a need for someone to come to balance out the numbers, or there is a young lady in the party and my presence as a single young man is deemed desirable. This has happened at least a couple times now, and today was definitely a case of the latter. Being fond of company, even though I must admit that this week has been full of an unusual amount of going out (at least by my standards), I agreed, and waited to see what sort of surprise my friend would provide.
As it happens, when I arrived at their house between 5:30PM and 6:00PM, I found myself being introduced to two people, a mother and a daughter (who is in her early 20’s and attends the local Cogwa congregation). Being familiar with their last name, we chatted about mutual friends and acquaintances and found out that I am a slight acquaintance of the older daughter in the family (who is married to the son of one of my ABC classmates), and that I know the mother’s daughter-in-law well from having grown up with her, as she was a friend of mine before things went really sour in 2010 and we ended up vehemently on opposite sides. The mother was also very familiar with one of my fellow teachers at Legacy, whose dating life and her parents’ unsuccessful attempts at setting her up with a nice boy from her local congregation were about as unsuccessful, if slightly less disastrous, than my own attempts to get to know her better. Needless to say, it was a conversation that covered a lot of very awkward territory, but I suppose that is something I must get more used to.
After the awkward introductions I remembered where I had known the young lady before. It turns out I had met her once before, without getting her last name, at the going away party for a pair of mutual friends who went off to Jordan for a year . At that particular party, she and I were a part of the same conversation for a bit and she was particularly disgusted by a mutual acquaintance of ours who is about my age dating a girl about her age. She seemed particularly uncomfortable with large age differences (even of three or four years) when it came to dating, and needless to say, that is the sort of thing that I would remember particularly well. During the course of the evening, we had an enjoyable dinner with some fascinating conversation about family and travel and work and church life, and the mother kept on giving me rather knowing glances during the evening, though given the several different aspects of my life that could have led to my reputation preceding me, I hardly know which element of my life she had been previously familiar with (since she said when we were introduced that she had heard of me). If my luck was exceptionally bad, she could have been familiar with several different elements of my life that might not have made for a pretty picture, especially since I had been invited to be a conversation partner for her daughter (unbeknownst to me, of course).
After dinner and the usual Bible trivia game, we were given a choice of two movies by our host. The young lady, though, remembered that in previous visits that she had been shown “Fiddler On The Roof” and had fallen asleep before watching it all (no wonder), and so she wanted to see that. So, we did, at least part of it. As we did not start watching the film until it was about 8PM, after about an hour and a half or so, I was tired and needed to get home, as I will be heading off to Hood River tomorrow. For those who are not familiar with the movie or the musical from which it was made, there are some interesting subjects about the movie relating to the tension between love and money, the difficulty of living a traditional life in the face of massive sociopolitical pressures, and the difficulty of finding the right match (especially when parents are seeking matches among older men). To make things even more interesting, the host kept on bringing up the fact that one of the daughters in the movie looked a lot like one of the young ladies in our local congregation. The fact that matchmaking had come up in our conversation in dinner made things even more awkward. Should I feel flattered that people find it appropriate to seek to make a match for me, seeing as I am fairly incompetent at the task myself, or should I be annoyed? Sometimes it is so difficult to disentangle the complicated feelings I have about matters such as this.
 See, for example: