Friday, October 31, 2008

Sheva Berachos

I have been so crazy busy with work this week that I literally did not exit the house for days at a time-- even to take out the garbage, which as you all know, if my "critical mass" point. Anyway, when I am in the house, I have my cell phone shut off for several reasons, not the least of which being that my lovely CPP (which shall remain nameless) is unable to provide me with sufficient coverage in my 70 sq meters of heaven, i.e. dropped call, dropped call, and dropped call. So, unless I am expecting someone to call me, I don't bother to check my messages.

Yesterday I got a call from my lawyer about the lawsuit, but she didn't leave a message or send me an email, so I figured I should check the cell phone. Sure enough, she had left a message there, and that's how stumbled upon the multiple messages left by my very-stressed-out Kallah friend (see Notes on a Wedding). Turned out there were going to be sheva berachos three hours later in Flatbush, and I had better hop to it. So hop to it I did, and practically ran my way over there. Listen, when you're Yekki, being late is tantamount to a cardinal sin.

Suffice it to say that while I may have arrived horrendously late by Yekkish standards (read 10 minutes), the Chattan and Kallah were on Sephardi time; the shindig got underway around 8:15 or so. I was sort of undressed, having forgotten that everything in Flatbush is an opportunity to be fancy; at my Sheva Berachos, people wore jeans! But, B'H', at least I had some make up and a sheitel on, not to mention a pretty necklace my husband bought me last year to mark the anniversary of the car accident- or specifically, our having pulled through it, with much gratitude to Hashem! The table were all beautifully set, the hosts' children were cute like anything, and the caterer very accommodating and cheerful.

I had arrived at the same time as another couple, and for the longest time it was us, a second couple who arrived about 20 minutes after us, and the host family. They seated myself and I staked out a seat. Noting the Chattan and Kallah's chairs, I decided to take an end seat at an adjacent table. The end result was that I was on a diagonal from the other guests, basically seating at the polar opposite end of the room. I entertained myself by speaking to the children, who were a hoot, and when the hostess came down, endured her awkward attempts to take my coat and chit chat me across the room to join the two couples. I politely sidestepped her "good" graces, retained my coat, and remained where I was.

There is nothing that I abhor more than polite chit chat, particularly because it is generally a thinly veiled attempt to be polite without any real interest in getting to know the other person. I prefer to be ignored and/or left alone to enduring the obligatory twittering over weather, schools, families in common and so forth. Yet, and perhaps I am being delusional, I do find myself be out-going. Rather my issue is that if I am going to converse, I want it to be with someone with whom I can hold an actual, friendly conversation. Divulging of intimate secrets is not required, simply a bit of warmth and good will. And, while I understand that chit chat is most often people's attempt to break the ice, the end result is typically that you exchange a few lines, smile a polite smile, and move on- a cold exchange indeed.

I was consequently most pleased when my table wound up consisting of the teenage girls and the hostess's mother. I have found, due to my preference for honesty, that I like the company of senior citizens and persons of school age, and I was not disappointed. The matriarch was a fascinating woman, and her grand-daughters and their friends were very warm and charming. When the Chattan and Kallah finally arrived, I was already having a grand time, which I subsequently punctuated with trips to the Kallah's table in order to dish a bit. All in all, it was a really nice time, as evidenced by the fact that it lasted much later than I expected, and despite my having a pile of work waiting for me at home, I didn't care. Then again, at such events, since kind attracts kind, chances are that you're going to enjoy the crowd.

The Chattan and Kallah are going out of town for Shabbos to have Sheva Berachos in the Chattan's hometown. I hope they enjoy themselves, and that when they return home and are finally able to enter into their peaceful life together, Hashem will only bestow blessing upon them.

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