The 17th wheel

Sometime late in 1998, we were sitting on the bar patio at the restaurant where we all worked.. Many brilliant ideas came to life on that patio, and that night a friend thought we should do something cool together to celebrate the year clicking over from 1999 to 2000. She suggested going on a Caribbean cruise as a group. Of course we were all living on waiting-tables-wages, so it took a while to talk us into it, but eventually we had a large group signed up.

Along with several couples, there were three single guys going - Bill, Scott and myself. We were good friends and planned to share a room on the ship. In the summer of 1999, I met J and Scott met someone as well, so Bill ended up in a room by himself. He was the one single guy along with eight couples on the cruise - the 17th wheel.

We were all great friends, so the trip was a week long party where you mingle among the crowd, spending time with everyone. But of course there were still couples at the end of the day, and I know that Bill felt like the odd man out at times, no matter how much time we spent together as a group.

And it feels a bit like that for me right now. Nearly all my friends are either married or in a relationship. This is true both in Washington and here in California. Now don't get me wrong, this is not a plea to be included more often. Everyone has been very welcoming, inviting me over to dinner or to larger parties (I was invited out tonight in fact). None of my friends have made it an issue or made me feel like a second class citizen for being unattached.

But still, there are couple moments where I am the odd man out. Like last year when we were walking around town under the changing leaves of autumn. A friend said, "let's take pictures for all our Christmas cards!" Of course, I would not be sending out a photo Christmas card, so I just quietly stepped back. Another friend pulled me into a group photo, a sensitive gesture to include me, but at that point it was just awkward.

I am not looking to replace my group of friends, and I still love (love!) spending time with my married peeps, but it would be healthy to expand the circle a bit to include some new, single faces. Not people I am hoping to date necessarily, just people who might share common interests or introduce me to new things. People that might be struggling along a similar path. Other single folks in a married world.


matt said...

Nice post.

Me said...

Why can't you send out a photo Christmas card - one with about five pictures - you holding a holiday sign, your trip to AZ, a run that you did, you and your puppy girl, and the fact that you moved from one state to another because you had a HUGE change in your life.

Now, that's a Christmas card!!!

Me said...

Loved the card! So glad you did it because it shows a really great Christmas spirit! Thanks so much for including me!

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