Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Invasion

What do you get when you combine--8 pounds of spaghetti, 6 loaves of garlic bread, 8 litres of soda, 2 gallons of milk, 3.5 gallons of homemade pasta sauce with 4 pounds of meat, three cavernous bowls of salad, 80 Toll House cookies, dozens of Little Debbie Treats (and assorted leftover Christmas Candy) and mounds of grapes and apples--with 30 female high school swimmers fresh from a two and a half hour practice?

Nothing. You get nothing. At all. Leftover.

One minute, I surveyed the idyllic domestic scene with satisfaction...pasta gently boiling on the stove, meat sauce bubbling merrily away, whilst the heavenly aroma of warm garlic cheese bread filled the still and quiet air.

Then, in the blink of an eye, all hell broke loose.

A car drove up. Door after door slammed. I heard the shrieking long before the horde descended. I swear, the sun was blotted out from the sky.

They came. They devoured. They giggled without ceasing. An hour and a half later, after beating back wave after wave of them with a wooden spoon, the husband and I wearily looked up from our sweaty post above the steaming pots and pans and timidly regarded what remained of the bleak landscape...several crumbs, a smattering of sauce, a few stray noodles.

We ventured outside the house to check if the wood siding had been compromised.

As we were trying to restore order to the kitchen, their team captain organized her swimmers and had them quickly vote on which girlie game to play. Tim and I took this as a sign. We quickly cleaned up, retreated upstairs, collapsed on the couch and proceeded to eavesdrop without shame.

The planned games rapidly degenerated into socially unacceptable subjects. Each new anecdote about farting in the high school halls, vomiting in friends' cars, period woes, peeing in the well (diving pool) when no one was looking and finding the perfect homecoming formal was met with riotous laughter.

"Girls seriously talk about this kind of stuff in big groups?" Tim asked innocently. "Yes, dear," I responded. "When we get to be adults, we level up the bodily fluid anecdotes to childbirth horror stories. If we don't have children, we recount our dating mishaps. In detail, if you know what I mean."

"They sure are having fun," he replied, looking a bit shell-shocked. "Although I'm not sure how anyone can hear what the other one is saying."

I snickered. Silly, silly boy. We aren't trying to communicate profound insights. Each new story serves the purpose of raising the energy. Soon, the fervor becomes fever pitch--a feeding frenzy of hilarious anecdotal one-upmanships. (At the end of the fun, spent from all the laughter, our sides actually feel as if they will be compromised.)

This is the female tribe in all its glory...momentarily without a care in the world, free from all the world's constraints and expectations. We are ribald, obnoxious and unconcerned about how we "should" be acting. All that matters is laughter. Laughter leads to trust and trust leads to communion--a filling up of the soul, nourishment in its most simple and profound form.

My husband, although exhausted, loved the experience. He was tickled to get a glimpse of the mysterious teen female in her natural environment. "It's much more rude than I would have thought," he remarked, with more than a bit of admiration in his voice.

Me, I was giddy with remembrance; of the sleep-overs in my youth and of the ladies' cocktail hours in my adulthood. In Colorado for just one year, I miss communion with my girlfriends in Japan. (Soon, though, I will be together with them again and we will fill up on all those spiritually fattening conversational carbs that sustain us through the long race. I can't wait.)

As the evening came to a close, the girls slowly trickled out. As they found their shoes and meandered out to their cars, every one of them made sure to thank us for the meal. "It was our pleasure," we called back, waving from the doorstep.

And, it truly was.

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