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A First First Friday

Karen Cyson

The certificate hanging over my computer states that I became a member of Mensa on August 1, 1987. So why, then, had I never been to a First Friday in lo those twelve years? "Well," I'd think, "it's too far, and it's too cold out, and the kids are too little, and I'm too tired." And I had too many excuses.

So last Friday night I put on my mink and pearls ... no, actually I put on a sweater and a pair of pants, and drove the 78 miles to Fort Snelling. (Note: To those who live closer than 78 miles, you can't use the "too far" excuse any more. If I can do it, so can you.) With my $2.00 in one hand and my food shelf donation in the other, I wiped the "I don't know what to do in this social situation" look off my face, plastered on the "this is cool, I'll be fine" look, and walked in the door.

I was met at the registration desk by a few familiar faces and a few new ones. I paid my fee, slapped on my name tag, and headed for the bar. Lest your opinion of me tailspin at this point, I'll point out that my drink of choice was my "usual" diet anything brown.

Drink in hand, I walked in to the crowd and was met by an acquaintance and was assured that this was a low-key party that I wouldn't be required to dance or do the limbo. I was greatly disappointed. I'm quite the dancer and plan to be a Rockette when I grow up. I do a mean limbo, too. Determined not to let this setback mar my evening, I wandered through the crowd.

And I had a really good time! I stood, I sat. I talked, I listened. And I learned a lot. I heard of studies being done on South American music, and I learned that I was a fool to have my coppertone kitchen appliances hauled to the dump. Apparently, they are in great demand by yuppies creating retro kitchens. Yikes! Who would have known?

I found out the preliminary plans for next year's RG, and learned about trains and boats, and how to get rid of a husband (quit cooking). I now know how to turn my burned out C-7 Christmas bulbs into a clever necklace, and that it is a bad idea to take your Jewish girlfriend to meet your Nazi grandparents.

I discussed Bill and Monica and Hillary and Jesse and what's right with America and what's wrong with all of us. (Perhaps we all have ADD I'll let you know after a few of us take a member's friend's test.)

Now I know about the behind-the-scenes workings of the Renaissance Festival, and several engineers present explained the mechanical reasons why one of the guests had a dress that was rather, ahmmm, uplifting. (It's technical I won't go into it here!) Another engineer, who (small world) went to school with my cousin, confirmed that said "cuz" was a nerdy geek of the monogrammed-pocket-protector variety. But I already knew that he was that way when we were five. And I participated in a most enlightening conversation on the relative merits of briefs, boxers, and "pouch" underwear for men. This was a topic to which I had previously given little thought, but, trust me, I now have waaaaaay more information on men's underwear than I could ever conceivably use.

So, for those of you who made me feel so welcome: you are wonderful, bright, witty people, and your conversation is scintillating. Thanks a lot. I had a great time!

And for those of you who don't come to First Friday what are you waiting for?

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