Yesterday I spoke about the “flop” gatherings we’ve all attended. Today I would like to share my thoughts about those social gatherings that we all wish we’d never attended due to the lingering dark memories.
I’m not sure how to explain what happens at those events which cause them to turn to the dark side but I know it happens. To me it seems as though it’s the combination of the place and time along with the personalities in attendance. There was a social gathering I attended not long ago where I arrived a bit late. In looking around, I found I knew many of the people there. When I exchanged a few pleasantries as I walked around I found that there were a number of people in “huddles” bending each other’s ears with a look in their eyes of being saturated with gossip. I mentioned something in a teasing sort of way to one of the hosts about the huddle and as I walked off, I noticed in the corner of my eye that she was turning and whispering something to someone that just walked up to her. Whispering in public with the hand next to the mouth is so terribly childish. It causes me think of portraits and prints of children doing it in a more artistic way and likely with meanings behind them. The longer I was there, the more noticeable the change in the group’s demeanor. It was almost as though someone else had taken over their bodies. There was likely only two or three people there that seemed unaffected by the negative energy that was building. Perhaps they were the anchors to keep the gathering from becoming totally out of hand. As a footnote, I even noticed how the bulk of the attendees were even rude to the waitstaff. Fortunately, I found a reason to slip out early without being noticed. There is an art to vanishing from a gathering without being noticed or even missed.
Many years ago I found myself at a party where nearly everyone was not only being mean spirited to each other, they’d gone to the length of being outright vicious. We all know that when people are drinking alcohol it removes mental boundaries and the lips get far too loose, but to turn verbally brutal is when I’m out the back door. I left that party furious to the point of knowing I would never have anything to do with those people again–and I didn’t. I truly believe in situations like I speak, there is almost always a ringleader who is attempting to see how far he or she can take the crowd and internally gloat over it. They are also likely taking mental notes along the way to be used in a dark way towards others in the future.
I’ve heard enough stories about the long term effects of being in attendance of a gathering that turned devilishly dark and psychologically painful. My advice to anyone who’s confronted with the choice of either remaining at a gathering that is turning ugly or leaving quietly, is to simply leave quietly with your self-respect intact and never turn back.
The above photo is one I took this evening of Mason City at dusk from the distant rim.