I have been invited to join a yacht club located near my apartment complex. The fact that I am single, unemployed, and don’t own a row boat–much less a yacht–apparently makes no difference. They want me. Bad.
In a way, I want them, too. What is not to love about a dowager pink princess who hosts fashion shows and weekly big band dances along with “prime rib dinner” nights and ladies bridge luncheons? According to the literature I received in my mailbox, the club is on a new-membership tear. Every current member is urged to refer a new member–now. No time to waste.
My invitation came as a result of Rouletta. I was walking her along the neighborhood streets that back up to my complex and the yacht club, when a tanned and fit elderly woman stopped me and gushed in one breath: “I’ve seen you walking with this cute dog before…you must live nearby…would you consider joining our yacht club…it’s just up the street…we need some nice new young members…you would love it…you know?”
She was so earnest and so sincere, albeit a tad bold, that I gave this perfect stranger my phone number and address, even as I explained in my own one breath that I was an unemployed, single restaurant gal with college-aged children who lived elsewhere…that I didn’t know much about boating…that I am taking time off from real work to work on a book project that may or may not ever get published, but it is now or never to go for it…you know? And sure enough, my invitation to enjoy a lunch or dinner and a tour of the club facilities arrived in the mail a week later.
I have a feeling this club had its heyday in the 1960s. Likely it was a time when families with plenty of children reigned, children who roamed the docks and swam in the pool as their parents toasted one another at weekly cocktail parties–coat and tie required. I am confident it was a time of cruise parties to nearby keys and themed costume dances and holiday events that no club member would think of missing. But over the decades the children grew up as their parents grew old. I suspect the current median age of this yacht club’s members is 75, and that I, in my middle age, represent the potential to help this club recapture its youth, maybe even its glory.
After a week of unending social drama permeating my beach bar and my personal life–drama that RG Daughter cannot believe unfolds between people of an age who should have gotten over themselves decades ago in high school–joining a fading yacht club feels like the epitome of sublime. Jazz brunches, poker evenings, holiday balls, dance lessons, buffet nights, round robin tennis–I don’t care how old everyone is or if I am the only single gal in the gang, it all sounds perfectly old-school and wonderfully sane.
I would love to accept the dinner and tour invitation. I would love to join the ladies auxiliary and help organize a rummage sale. I would love to shake hands with those who hail from an era of manners and decorum that holds fast to its dress code.
I would love to, even as I know I cannot. It wouldn’t be fair to take advantage of their hospitality, when I know it can go no further than a single dinner. The initiation fee, the monthly dues, the quarterly minimums–not in my realm. Not now. Likely never.
But how sweet to be asked, the subtle undercurrent of desperation behind the invitation notwithstanding. How sweet to imagine, for just a moment, that I could allow myself to feel so welcome.