Earlier today I got an email addressed to the whole book club distribution list, about twenty people. It was from this lady whom I've never met or heard of, and it started out as just a note to let everyone know she wouldn't be at the meeting tonight. Even early in the message, though, I thought we might be riding a Crazy Train, because her explanation for missing the meeting was way too detailed. It's what we call a soft sign.
The hard sign came in the next paragraph, which read:
On a side note: I'm sure everyone is wondering what happened at my daughter and son in law's home [in our neighborhood] last Monday and I'm aware that someone on [street] is causing alot of issues trying to find out. Please know that none of the neighbors nor their children were in any danger, we were very concerned for my son in law and fortunately everything has turned out well. All I ask is that if you know someone is asking please ask them to respect my family's privacy as I know you all will.Um...do what now?
Hi Neighbor! Of what are you talking? I HAVE NOT THE PLEASURE OF UNDERSTANDING YOU.
The next message in my inbox was from Pretty Neighbor, forwarding me the above message with just a single comment: Why the face? I was all, it's like they WANT me to blog about them.
I'll just say that if her goal was for everyone to respect her family's privacy, this was an odd move, as it immediately caused a dozen people to leap onto the phone trying to scare up some information. I texted my tennis friend T, because she usually knows everything, and all she had was that there were five or six police cars outside this family's house on the day in question, and the wife of the house sitting cross-legged in the street. Pretty Neighbor's theory was Suburban Meth Lab, my theory tends toward Son-in-Law having a psychotic episode. Her saying that the neighbors weren't in any danger makes me think there was a gun involved. It seems clear that there is some episode of human pain and bad stuff behind this, but the way she aired it in this email is ridiculous.
When we got to book club, T opened with, "So what's up with that email?" Nobody had any hard intel, but EVERYONE said, "Why did she send that? None of us knew anything had happened OR were prying into it." Buzz buzz! But I bet they will do some prying now. If I were that woman's daughter (or son-in-law), I would be mortified.
Then there was, like, a book that we discussed, kind of. One of the organizers read aloud some of the questions in the "Readers' Guide" at the end of the paperback edition and people responded to them. I came clean right up front that I'd only read 106 pages of the book and I just couldn't get into it. This didn't seem to be a criterion for exclusion from the meeting. One girl said, "I know we've had meetings where nobody had finished the book." LOL. It sounded like the last half of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet might have been better, though. Sometimes in the discussion there were odd detours into unrelated subjects, but I think this is par for the book club course? It was fine.
I was glad Pretty Neighbor had finished the book, or we would have looked like assholes.
They were all nice ladies, even and especially the two older ladies who could not return my or Pretty Neighbor's calls for months. I enjoyed meeting them, and I enjoyed eating the snacks. Next month is The Red Queen, by that lady who has written a separate novel about every single Tudor, Lancaster, and York, or that's how it seems. Then, for January, I got them to agree to Serena, by Ron Rash. Yay!
Yes y'all, at my first book club meeting, I got a book on the schedule. Thug life.