Thursday, May 5, 2022

thoughts from the garage

I found myself thinking about the White House state dinner that my grandparents had attended, which I found the souvenirs of yesterday. If I'd ever been invited to a White House dinner, would I have gone?

I'm not sure, actually. It is of course a tremendous honor to be invited, and it would undoubtably have been a memorable experience. But I don't think I would have enjoyed it very much. A formal gathering with a bunch of strangers ... not my thing.

But I'm sure that's my introversion speaking. Looking at the list of guests, there's only two others whom I'm sure my grandparents knew, and both were much more prominent (one was the President), so unlikely to be available for hanging out, if "hanging out" is even an applicable term for a state dinner.

This is unlikely to have bothered my grandparents much. They were much more social animals than I. My grandfather attributed much of his success in business to social lubrication, and I'm sure this was so, even though he was careful not to partake of his own product (he was a beer distributor). Sometimes he would try to give little lectures to encourage me to be better at this, but I don't think he grasped what an uphill task that was.

All he knew was that I had my head in a book all the time, and while he respected learning, he felt it was useful to get out of there. Once he told me, "There are things you need to learn that aren't in books." I replied, "Then someone should write books with those things in them," and I wasn't being snarky, not intentionally anyway. It wasn't until I was much older that I realized what he'd meant, which is that you can only learn these things from experience - and that's one of them.

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