A little bit of my baggage came back for a visit last night, but it was totally within reason (I think). A group of my acquaintances from tennis were throwing a beach bonfire in honor of the first weekend of summer. I was excited to end the week relaxing on the beach with a few drinks and a mellow group of people.
I also thought it might be a nice opportunity to introduce Wine Guy to this group. Most of my close friends have met him already but, since Wine Guy doesn't play tennis (though he and I will attempt to play tomorrow for the first time), he has yet to meet any of these people. I think Wine Guy is somewhat intimidated by the group (actually, I know he is since he told me so). I'm not sure why. Maybe just the concept of a big group of people who do all sorts of athletic activities together can seem intimidating. I try to explain they are hardly that. More like a random mix of people who moved to San Diego and joined this sports group to make friends.
I don't think he was buying it. Probably because many of my friends in the group are guys. As hard as I try to assure him there is NOTHING to worry about, I don' t think he's comfortable with it. When I tell him that I've blabbed to them all about my new boyfriend and that they share stories with me about the various chicks they're dating, he still doesn't seem at all reassured. In the end, there's only so much I can say so, for the most part, I try to keep my trap shut and just give him time to adjust to the idea. I thought if he actually met some of them -- like at last night's bonfire -- it might speed up the process just a bit.
I was planning on driving Wine Guy and my two girlfriends Mendoza and Gouda, both of whom he knows pretty well. Wine Guy was coming back from working out so we had to hurry if we wanted to make it in time for sunset (the whole point as far as I'm concerned). I could tell from the second I answered his call when he got home that he was not in the mood to go out. He sounded tired and somewhat grumpy. When I told him the plan was I would pick him up in a few minutes, then Mendoza, then Gouda, then a quick stop at the liquor store, then the beach, he kind of groaned. I could tell he was overwhelmed. Great.
Here are the facts. Wine Guy was tired. He only got 5 hours of sleep the night before and it had been a long week. He's human. But this was the first time he had been anything but gung ho with me and I was not prepared for that first time to be last night. Here was the perfect opportunity I'd been waiting for to introduce my new boyfriend to this group of friends, and he's not in the freakin' mood! This sucked. I can't stand the idea of dragging someone to something they are not into. Sure, I'd feel bad for them. But also, selfishly, I know I'd spend the whole time worrying about them being miserable and then worrying that everyone else knows he's miserable. It's a big downward spiral - in my head that is.
So I show up at Wine Guy's house while he's still in the shower. I'm totally stressed and wish I could just magically make him not tired, not rushed and in a good mood. I'm also having major Only Child flashbacks. OC was socially phobic with a pretty low energy level, so any outing like this usually involved a lot of coaxing, cajoling and sometimes nagging on my part (usually punctuated with a fight). It never went well. So perhaps that explains my instant panic upon noting Wine Guy's lethargy over that first phone call.
As he was getting ready to leave and obviously sensing my stress he kept telling me, "It's not your job to make me feel better. Just tell me to snap out of it and I'll do the best I can. I won't be perky, but I'll be fine. Get over it." I appreciated his efforts to let me off the hook (shove me off the hook is more like it) and I tried to take his words to heart. So what ended up happening?
When we got to the beach, I poured myself a strong ass vodka drink while Wine Guy and the girls walked to grab us some burritos. By the time they came back I was pleasantly buzzed and over my mini-panic attack. I introduced him around the group and tried to give him room to settle in. And did everything I could not to take on more than my own burden. Overall, he did pretty well and I think he might have even had a little fun.
Right now - Saturday evening - I'm at his place blogging away and sipping wine while he prepares a lovely meal for us (seared scallops and asian slaw -- see right). Heaven. Next time he gets a little tired and grumpy, I will do everything in my power to remember this moment and back the "f" off!