Conversation Starters

"Wow," said Lilly. That was about all she could say. "Wow." -from Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes.

So, I ran into an acquaintance of mine last night at Aidan's school music performance. Long story short, she and her husband have had some serious and significant issues the last few years, both individually and between them. She saw me with my four kids as she walked into the gym, gave me a big hug and sent her husband off to find seats.

"How are things going?" I tentatively asked, knowing last time it lead to jaw-dropping answers of trashy-novel proportions.

"Great," she said. "But my shrink keeps asking why we are still married. How are things with you and Kurt?"

"Fine. Could be better, could be worse," I said before exchanging more pleasantries.

"Well, are you very religious?" she asked.

"Define very, " I replied.

"Well, I consider myself a very Christian woman but," she pauses and goes into whispers, "I'm also a swinger."

And I waited....maybe she was going to bust out with a "gotcha" and laughing right? I mean, that would be plausible.

"Uh, excuse me? What did you just say?" I asked.

"I'm a swinger," she whispered again.

"Yeah, that's what I thought you said."

Then to answer your question: no, I am not "very" religious. I'm more like Mother Teresa on Miracle Grow, patiently healing and single-handedly supporting the poor, sick and downtrodden with my holy hands while I await my sainthood. HELLO? What Bible are you reading because I'm pretty sure there are some pages missing.....I mean, I don't want to be speaking with a log in my own eye or anything here....you know, I don't wear head coverings and though some days I certainly feel like it, I don't sacrifice the firstborn of each animal in my flock (you're lucky Aidan!) but I am pretty certain that most people would agree "swinging" is only Christian when it implies flying alone through the air on a little seat hanging from a crossbar by way of chains, or something one does at a sporting event that doesn't require whispers! But before I could tell her that maybe she was taking the whole "love one another" thing a bit too far she went on:

"Well, I swear it has saved our marriage......"

Right, and by "saved" you mean almost completely destroyed and totally complicated what might otherwise be a pretty straightforward, albeit sometimes difficult, relationship between two people. As Kurt says, you can drop an egg off a ten story building, go down, pick up all the pieces and put what's left in a zip-lock baggie and technically say you "saved" the egg, but really, do you want to eat that later?

"Um, do you think maybe that lifestyle might be adding to your issues?" I asked, envisioning an ever growing can of worms.

"Oh, gosh no. I mean, it has been what has saved us," she assured me, as she went on to tell me about how he did end up having an affair with one of the women from the swinger parties but other than that, it has totally helped. (Let me make note that we also have very different definitions of the verb "helped.")

"Where's Kurt?" she asked, looking around.

"He came to the earlier performance so that he could go watch the NFL draft with his buddy," I said, not thinking anything of it but feeling wholly relieved that I hadn't had to prep the house as originally planned.

"Well, maybe I should invite YOU to our parties," she teased (at least I think she was teasing....).

"Yeah, ya know, I'm pretty sure that isn't in our game plan actually. Thanks though," I replied, ever-so-kindly.

"Oh girl, it wasn't in our game plan either but look at us now!" she laughed. "I was just looking for a clothing-optional campground and here we are four years later." Right, clothing optional....got it.

Wow. Oh wait, we are about to watch our FIRST GRADERS sing in their elementary school show! For a second there, I thought we were having an insanely crazy conversation covering topics about which I truly don't need more information. And no, I don't want to know all the OTHER parents at this school who are involved in this group. I want to watch the show, go home, play naive and pretend that this conversation NEVER. TOOK. PLACE! or at least that maybe you are really talking about swing dancing, yeah, that's it, you must have meant swing dancing.

Sheesh. And some people think I speak a bit too bluntly.

"Wow," said the Graceful Chicken. And that was about all she could say. "Wow."


  1. Wow... said Gillian... Wow. And that's all she could say.

  2. yeowzers! not to steal your kid's thunder or anything...

  3. Supposedly there's a cul-de-sac in Woodbury where all the homeowners are part of a big swinging group. The group existed and a bunch of them decided they all wanted to live near each other (cut down on driving time and all that), so when a new neighborhood was being built they bought all the lots together. CRAZY!!!

  4. Hmmm... Just A LITTLE bit different from our moms club... could be an interesting addition though. CNO anyone?


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