Last Friday I attended my first Origami Owl party. Yeah, I had no idea either, but I received an invitation from my longtime friend Kirsten who throws great parties so I thought it would be fun to get out of my routine and maybe meet some new people. Origami Owl, by the way, is a home jewelry party business that was started by a 14-year-old girl who was trying to raise money to buy a car. You pick out your charms and make your locket.
Now, for some of you who are habitual – if not closet – “eye rollers” like myself, I know what you’re thinking: “If one more person invites me to their house to buy lipstick, detergent or some type of miraculous molded plastic, I may just have to impale myself on the top of the Space Needle.”
I hear you and we all need to have healthy boundaries around these things. No one has limited time, limited money and it’s OK to admit we’re just not interested. BUT, before you toss the baby out with the bath water – let me share my own confessional story of a time when I accepted one of “those” invitations, and it made a huge difference in my life.
OK. Here we go. Deep breath. Confession: I hate Bunko.
Yes, I know. As a suburban mom, this is supposed to be the “I Ching” of social enlightenment for me. But I really, really don’t like it. Perhaps Bunko is like Tolstoy: some people worship at the altar of War and Peace, some of us wanted to fork out our eyeballs halfway through Anna Karenina. There’s not much middle ground. And so it is for me and Bunko. I got my fill of playing Yahtzee by the 6th grade and, to me, that’s what Bunko is. It’s Yahtzee. Just with a lot more candy. And wine. (Which, of course, leaves some of you thinking, ‘and the problem is?’)
Maybe I don’t like Bunko because it’s difficult to have any kind of meaningful conversation while you’re playing. Just when you hear yourself saying something like “yeah, my husband has been out of work for almost 6 months” someone dings that infernal bell and yells BUNKO! And everyone jumps up, changes tables, and you find yourself headlong into a bowl of gummy bears.
A few years ago one of my neighbors (who I barely knew at the time) called and invited me to join a new neighborhood Bunko group that was getting started. I was in a place of desperately needing more connection in my life (small child, not working, you know the picture) so I kept my Bunko bashing to myself and said “You Betcha!” I will say that after two years in the Bunko Club, I still didn’t like Bunko. BUT, I met some of the greatest gals.
Bunko wasn’t the problem. My attitude was the problem. And by ‘getting over it,’ it opened the door to meeting several new people and developing meaningful connections with women who became my friends. Bunko isn’t designed for deep conversation; it’s designed for social connection. What we do with it after that, is up to us.
All that to say, in the spirit of finding connection, I encourage us all to re-consider, accept wisely, and think of “those” invitations as simply opportunities to meet new people, to connect. You don’t always have to like it. You don’t always have to buy something. But if you never go, you might miss a chance to meet some great new people.
So, last Friday I drove north to Bothell (for a day or for a lifetime) to discover Origami Owl. I enjoyed some great food and bevvies, whipped together a cute locket for myself and I met some really cool people. We talked about the Seattle Freeze, the things that we each have done to ‘get out of our routines’ and meet new people. I’m hoping to connect with one or more of them again over coffee or dinner soon. That’s the part that’s up to me.
It was a fantastic night. And, thank God, there was no bell.