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" … a home still unsupplemented by an additional professional abode."

Many people maintain two homes, the one where they vacuum the floors and the one where they report to work. I know, work ain't home, but it carries a home-like familiarity. At work, one has "their" desk, a workspace reserved for personal professional use. If you're not reporting to a desk job five days every week, the absence of that auxiliary work home might prominently loom over the other home. One needs a significant other home, I think, in order to properly frame the real home, someplace meaningfully calling one out into the world. This seems to add purpose to existence. Nobody ever rebuts an insistence that one simply must "get to work" or "they'll be late." Out they go, no questions asked.

Where do the rest of us go to find that sort of work home?
Some join a church or other organization willing to load obligations upon its members. Others join book clubs or bowling leagues. Still others hook up with professional societies like The International Association of Change Prevention Specialists. These groups tend to think of themselves as advocates, professionals dedicated to improving their own lot and therefore the lot of the world. They charge dues, misuse Robert's Rules of Order, and exude a certain self-importance. The members acknowledge just how misunderstood they are in the world, and seek to gain a deeper appreciation from the largely ill-informed publics they so selflessly serve. They champion causes which might be misconstrued as self-serving, but which they sincerely intend as helpful.

Members, those willing to part with the two hundred bucks annual membership fee, agree to lead a committee or champion some sub-cause. The program chair assumes responsibility for organizing each meeting's agenda. The President oversees each separate committee's machinations and approves expenditures. The group usually meets in begged rooms, an off-hour conference room "donated" by an appreciating supporter or some other space remarkably ill-suited for conducting the business at hand. And the group does some good in the world, if only by creating a home within which otherwise under-appreciated professionals can congregate. And, they toss a few bucks toward a favored charity, too. People grow to feel that they belong there, like they belong at home.

I've never been much of a joiner. I might attend a meeting, but will carefully declare myself Just Visiting. I skillfully demonstrate how an introvert networks, watching what looks like an extended family mill around reliving their past lives together. As a newby, the meeting room will perhaps affect me most since I will not have gone unconscious to the physical context it provides. I attended as a visitor such a meeting yesterday which was held (I kid you not) in the "chapel" of the downtown Denver Church of Scientology. Entering that room felt like entering one of the circles of Hell, a dark shadow looming over my shoulders. I could not shake the creeps. One of the established members explained to me that a) a prior President of the group had been a Scientologist and b) they got the room for free. I could not imagine myself ever feeling at home there.

I met some very nice people. A friend was scheduled to make a presentation and he did a fine job, perhaps too fine a job for the audience and the space. I spoke with a few others but mostly caught myself uncertain of what was actually going on. The group had matured , like all special interest groups do, into patterns of interaction which only made coherent sense to them. Each such group develops a unique dialect, typically liberally sprinkled with acronyms with no obvious referent. As I signed in and paid my exorbitant forty bucks at the door, the registrar asked if I'd registered beforehand. I replied that I was unaware that I needed to. I apparently didn't need to because I was quickly invited to fill out a name tag with a pen that didn't work. No, that second pen didn't work, either. The third one did.

Then, I set about really demonstrating how introverts network. I stood near the back failing to shake the creepy shadow looming over my shoulders. The bronze bust of L. Ron Hubbard hardly helped. I later found that the group had little affinity with anything I was interested in. I'd thought it was a group of writers. It was largely a group of editors, publicists, and book designers with few writers sprinkled in. The meeting aside, I shared little interest with others I met. I went a little more invisible upon recognizing that this would not become an alternate home for me. I felt like a phony in their presence, a mere writer, and not one terribly interested in self-publishing as an alternate career focus. I left as soon as the presentation ended and fled. The Muse was waiting outside with The Schooner all warmed up for the long drive back to our primary residence, a home still unsupplemented by an additional professional abode.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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