I got bored at the meeting last night, actually

And left early.

Maybe I was at the wrong table. As a never married woman with no kids, I find it hard to generate interest in discussion about husbands, future husbands, in-laws, ex-in-laws, children, children with allergies, children who aren’t potty trained … Admittedly, this was the first meet for Reasonable Women, many of which hadn’t met in person before. I felt like an alien in the group trying to get a handle on how women communicate, myself. Evidently they bond by sharing personal history, each woman going on the assumption that the others will think her life anecdotes are as interesting as she believes they are. It was a lot like a coffee klatch but with beer and martinis.

Don’t take that to mean I’m insulting them in any way. It’s just that that kind of communication is a stumbling block for me. I’ve never felt like my life experiences ought to interest people and I’ve never been one to be very obviously interested in the lives of others. Maybe somewhere along the line I got it into my head that it’s too nosy to encourage conversation like that so I never learned how to successfully drive a conversation in that direction. For the record, I don’t read gossips magazines or memoirs either.

Conversations rolled around to other things sometimes, of course. One of them uses zen tarot cards of some kind (Osho cards maybe?) and insists they really work as meditation guides. “Before this camp I’d be teaching at, I got the card ‘stress’ and after the camp I got the card ‘exhaustion’!” Yes, that’s nice and scientifically valid. It turned out a few of us had superstitious tarot histories, which was of interest to me as I’ve hung onto my own Arthurian Legend cards even though I long quit using them for anything. I could have mentioned my attempts at witchcraft in university, too, but I forgot about that until now.

The allergy chat triggered other health topics that might be worth reading up on. One made the claim that vegan diets cure diabetes and I doubt that’s likely. There’s evidence that eating vegan can reduce the need for injections, but that just means the vegan diet is a different (possibly better) way to manage the disease. If they were to quit eating vegan, all the problems associated with their diabetes would start up again, I expect.

It was also said that mouse viruses have been known to cause breast cancer. That was a new one to me so I looked it up this morning. Microbes do cause some kinds of cancer, which is why people are encouraged to get the vaccines for Hepatitis B and HPV if they want to avoid the liver and cervical kinds. The mouse mammary tumor virus could be responsible for up to 40% of breast cancer cases.

They also talked about education, teaching English overseas, the value of SIAST over university but university getting more of the money anyway, Catholic schools having more money for high tech gadgets than public schools, and how they all walked away from Christianity.

There were a dozen of us last night and whenever we meet again I think I’ll try sitting with the other half of the group to see what sort of conversations they’ll get into. Hopefully it’ll be something I know something about so I can actually feel like I’m contributing.

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8 Responses to I got bored at the meeting last night, actually

  1. rebekah says:

    Hey M,

    I’m looking to collect feedback on what everyone thought of last night’s get-together. Would you mind if I provided a link on the forums to your reflections for the other in the group to see?

  2. rebekah says:

    doh, otherS to see. I think I need more coffee.

  3. Koinosuke says:

    Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. I’ll stick with Skeptics in the Pub.

  4. 1minionsopinion says:

    Pass the link along if you want, I guess. They can decide for themselves if they want to read it. heh. Hopefully the rest got more out of the chatting than I did.

    I’m looking forward to the next Skeptics meet, too.

  5. rebekah says:

    Well, it could just be that RW isn’t meant for you, M and Carmen — and that’s okay. Not all groups are meant to be for all people.

    But judging from how quickly the group has grown (in less than a month), in addition to the positive response of last night, I’d argue this group fits a need that is not addressed in the other local communities (for example, almost half of our members are not associated with another atheist/skeptic group in town).

    Anyway, perhaps I’ll hold off posting the link, if only because I’m not sure how productive it would be to share.

  6. 1minionsopinion says:

    I’d still like to try another meeting at some point but maybe it will turn out to be nothing I’m in need of at this time.

    I’m not really sure how to take your last line, unfortunately and correct me if I’ve misunderstood. I’m guessing this post is quite a negative viewpoint compared to the reviews you must have gotten already? I’m coming across as skeptical of things someone believes at your meeting and that’s nothing you think they need to know?

    I don’t mind if you aren’t comfortable sharing this post, though. That’s part of why I wrote my thoughts here instead of on the forum, or saying anything contrary the night of. I liked the people I chatted with, but I didn’t always agree with or buy everything that was getting said.

    (did a bit of editing to reword my thoughts here, if anyone noticed ..maybe nobody.. but anyway.. just sayin’)

  7. Kari says:

    Late to the discussion, and probably inappropriately personal all over your comments section:

    Yeah, there was a lot of pseudo-science and -medicine and -philosophy flying around the table that night. Nodding one’s head at someone else’s anecdote doesn’t imply that one accepts that anecdote as fact. And in the interest of being congenial among strangers, I was in no mood for challenging the woo. And I’m no chemist/oncologist/historian etc., so not sure what good it could do anyhow.

    When you got up to leave, I realized with regret how little about you I’d got to know. Not everyone is comfortable tossing in bits and pieces about their lives and seeing what sticks in the conversation. But your story is important as any mom or wife or potty-training story, and as deserving of being heard, so I hope you do come out again and get a chance (in fitting with your personality) to share it.

    It was a social, after all, not a conference. People talk about their lives, and there’s no threshold of intellectual depth required for conversation. But there’s no limit either. Just because I can converse with ease about my preschooler doesn’t mean I can’t also converse with ease about social justice or information science, or whatever YOUR interests are.

    I apologize for my part in dominating the conversation. I especially apologize for my dismissive remark about the Box of Shame in Despicable Me. That probably was a conversation killer, and I blew it.

    Interesting people are interesting. If I don’t seem interesting to you, I’m okay with that. But you seem interesting to me, so for selfish reasons at least I hope someday you’ll share more.

  8. 1minionsopinion says:

    I could have chosen different wording/less criticism to explain what did or didn’t wind up interesting me but true, it was a meet and greet and I didn’t go with any expectations of it being otherwise, that’s for certain.

    It may have been a result of the mood I was in at the time, too. There’s never just one cause for anything, really.

    Small talk never has been a skill of mine, unfortunately, nor do I have a great track record in a room of strangers in term of chatty comfort levels. I won’t deny it’s a skill I admire in others, though.

    I think I’d be willing try another outing with the group at some point, probably. It’s worthwhile to meet and know a variety of people. Some will inevitably be better liked than others but it’s still worthwhile getting to know them all. Minds can change…

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