So much to learn, and G, my guide to the 21st-Century is out skateboarding.  Big question – and it’s one that touches a totally uncool, sweaty-palmed question of wantedness:  How do I find out who would like to be informed of new posts?… A weekly heads-up could be a nuisance.  On the other hand, I like getting the easy short-cut email from friends who’re blogging.

Dear Readers, could you click the box on the lower rightenVisage corner if you do want that heads-up? – if it’s there…. If anyone knows how to do that, please tell me.

Wantedness…. It brings up a memory from a Saturday night 40-something years ago, of sitting on the window seat in my bedroom at Great Aunty Rose and Great Uncle Maurice’s house.  I could hear sounds of an apparently rollicking party from the very close house nextdoor, where there were two cute boys living, and there I was, caught between the reclusiveness of my room, trying to stay out of the way of my elderly relatives who’d so kindly taken me in, and excluded from the festivity on the other side of the hedge.  I felt like Hans Anderson’s orphaned little match girl.  It was nonsense, of course;  I didn’t know the boys well enough to be invited, and staying with Rose and Maurice was a really desirable alternative to living at school, trapped in the Dickensian misery of the boardinghouse. I’d lobbied hard for this,  but that didn’t ease my self-pity.

The night we moved into our apartment in the Ethical Culture building struck that same chord. There was a big party going on downstairs, honoring a longtime member, and we did our best to be unobtrusive, hauling our possessions up the side staircase.  There was no way we wanted to join in – we were absolutely exhausted – but I still got a shiver of Little Matchgirl-ism.  And when the question arose as to whether we should join the society, while Marshall tossed out the old Groucho line about not wanting to join any club that would have him as a member, I knew I couldn’t live there unless I joined.

Cool people don’t worry about being wanted, do they? – They’re hosts of their own party, present right where they want to be, at the center of the action.   My older siblings thought I should feel that way.  I was fussed over and spoilt, they said – and spared all the tough discipline they faced.  That might be true, but I was also the unplanned third kid, the little sister neither of them wanted. I craved to be included, welcomed into the fascinating older-kid stuff they were doing. I worried about being in the way – and still do.

In South Africa, on this recent trip, as wonderfully warm and welcoming as everyone one was, I exhausted myself worrying about imposing on my hosts. Were they really happy to sit up late over a nightcap? or to see another face at the breakfast table? – or to drive me here, there and everywhere? — I don’t know that I’d have been so accomodating….

It’s such a waste of energy, this worry, but – at almost-60 -can one change?