WARNING: The first two paragraphs are long-form procrastination and not necessary to the story of the dinner party. If you have a short attention span, go directly to paragraph #3.
Do you procrastinate? Ugh, don't you hate yourself when you do? I publish a blog post every Friday morning. But on Thursdays, because I am a compulsive procrastinator, I put off the process of writing the blog post for as long as possible. Today I monkeyed around by looking at color swatches painted on the side of Patrick's house. For hours. It was the perfect procrastination activity because the task was concrete (pick a color), non-urgent (pick a color soon), and challenging enough to be a satisfactory way to procrastinate (pick a good color).
Why do we do this? Once, disgusted with myself in the wee hours of a Thursday night, but still procrastinating if I am being totally honest, I googled "why do I procrastinate" and egads! the Internet delivered the most intelligent, humorous, substantive bit of theory that I've ever read. "Why Procrastinators Procrastinate" is written by Tim Urban, master procrastinator, and writer of the popular blog, What But Why. His two-part post on procrastination is a gospel of epic enlightenment for those of us who live life with an "instant gratification monkey" on our backs. In fact, he struck such a chord, Tim was asked to give a Ted Talk on it. And sure enough, he procrastinated on his Ted Talk. Deadly. In his words, "I went through the stress of a thousand suns." Watch it here.
Anyway, I subscribe to Tim Urban's famous blog, Wait But Why. He has millions of readers around the world and apparently we are a friendly lot. We do not engage in snarkiness. No trolling. No bullying. We respect each other and are un-judgey.
So because we are not haters, Tim decided to organize a global meetup for a random Saturday in August that he named "Wait But Hi". He asked his readers to fill out a survey and perhaps volunteer to host an event. "Volunteer?" I asked, my arm hairs raised. "Why I'd love to!" I wrote an appealing pitch about the back patio, the hammock, the treehouse.
Turns out that 3,781 people registered. Wait But Hi matched us up for over 400 events in many different countries. On the day before the event, we were given access to a chat room, but other than that, there was no advance communication.
The Saturday of Wait But Hi, I was nervous. Earlier that morning in an email, Tim wrote, "If I know my readers, around 85% of you are feeling some level of social anxiety right now, with about 35% of you having a full internal meltdown."
My anxiety centered around the question of numbers. I was okay with a few people coming or no one coming at all. But what if only one person showed? How awkward!
When the knock finally came, I eagerly flung open the door to three perfect strangers -- two women and one enormously tall man. Each of them came bearing odd parcels of food and drink. Two more women showed up shortly after.
And instantly, I knew it would be great. Because standing on my stoop, they reminded me of trick-or-treaters with open and friendly expressions and twinkling eyes, knowing something fun was about to occur.
We wrote out name tags, talked about Bosnia, laughed about the different types of odd friendships we are all part of, played a "wish" game, and shared Wisconsin meats. When it got good and dark, we climbed the treehouse and thanks to the very long arms of the very tall man, we snapped a great selfie.
I definitely hit it off with one of the guests. As she was leaving, we made plans to get together soon. And we did. A couple nights later, we met for dinner with our kids. We are already conspiring on another outing. Thanks to Tim Urban, I've got a new friend and she ain't afraid of going to a stranger's house alone. My kind of pal!
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