Weeks ago a friend invited me to a potluck. It wasn’t just any potluck. It was a Super Secret Talent Show and Potluck. In addition to bringing a dish to share, you were also encouraged to bring your talent– specifically a talent that very few people knew you had (hence the super secret part). Always excited at the prospect of sharing a meal and meeting new and interesting people (with super secret talents), I eagerly marked the night on the calendar.
Then the day arrived and I was really, really tired. It was a Friday at the end of a long week of presentations and student meetings and after work events. Staying home with a book seemed like a very, very attractive. Except I had said I was coming. And I’d made cookies. And it wasn’t like I could just catch the next party next week– this wasn’t a regular thing. It was a special thing. A super secret thing. So I packed up my cookies and walked out the door before my Introvert could scream loud enough to entice me to stay home (I fed it cookies, which helped curbed the protest.)
And then I was there, and I met some really lovely people and ate some delicious food and saw some hidden talents (writing backward, playing the Star Wars theme on a ukulele, eating cereal to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons). There was a moment when I was sitting in a circle of people, savoring the sharp tang of sun-dried tomatoes in orzo pasta, the sun sinking low in the cloud-covered sky giving everything that dusky, surreal, summer evening glow– and I actually felt calmer than I had in days. Reminding me of the not so super secret truth, that with the right group of people, there is quiet in the crowd.