Remember when you were a little kid in elementary school and everyone would make up secret clubs? Sometimes they had passwords or handshakes or weird names that only meant something to the members in the club. And as young children often do, they would kick people out of their secret clubs.
I know . . . it happened to me. In 2nd grade. And again in 3rd. And then I did it to a girl during 4th and still feel guilty about it to this day . . . sigh . . .
But then other people would get kicked out (they broke the “rules” or the club’s creator got mad at them and forced them out). Sometimes they’d just quit, and then they’d form their own new secret club. The problem? They usually weren’t very secret. Everyone usually had a good idea who was in whose club. At least for that day at school. By the next day, old friendships might be out, and new ones might have formed. Secret clubs and their membership were like the tides – always coming in and out, never changing, yet changing all the time.
It finally hit me that adults have secret clubs, too. Of course, being adults, we’re far more subtle. The rules are loosy-goosey (or non-existent). The membership fluctuates. But they do exist.
One secret club I used to belong to? Mazda Miata owners. Zoom-Zoom! I had my little MX-5, midnight blue ragtop for 12 years, and I looked mighty fine behind the wheel. I’d still be driving it today if a terrible Texas hailstorm hadn’t pounded the life out of it, but I digress. Anyway, from the time I slid behind the wheel, I started noticing other Miatas on the road. And when I pulled up next to one at a light or passed one on the highway, the other driver and I would give a nod or a wave with a couple of fingers. It was like being a member of the best secret club in the world. We knew we were cool, and we didn’t have to brag about it because other drivers could see our wheels and simply know we were. At least that what it felt like.
Recently, I attended a football game out of state. Probably a thousand of us wore a variety of crimson shirts, and we stuck out like sore thumbs in a sea of about a million bazillion green shirts of the home team’s fans. And even though I didn’t see one person I actually knew, we crimson-wearing peeps were all united. We smiled and nodded at each other. Lifted our chins and notched our heads up a bit whenever we spotted one another. We stopped what we were doing and took pictures for other people in crimson (You can only post so many selfies; sometimes you need a little distance and perspective in a pic, especially if you’re trying to get Touchdown Jesus in the background). We talked to each other while eating brats. We cheered as a group once inside the stadium. For that glorious afternoon, we belonged together, as a club. Even if we didn’t know each other and wouldn’t recognize each other wearing what we normally wear to work or on the weekends.
You may belong to other “clubs” like that. I know when I’m out walking Jake the Wonder Dog, other dog walkers are really nice to me. They grin and wave. Sometimes they stop and tell me how adorable he is. But when I’m walking alone? I smile at people with dogs, but there’s just something missing when they look back at me. It’s almost as if they pity me because I’m not walking a dog as handsome as theirs and have to trudge along by my lonesome along the path.
Maybe you carry a certain brand of purse and notice others who do the same, giving them that satisfied smile, knowing you are true fashionistas. Or you pull up at a light and the car next to you has on the same station you do, and you’re both singing along. Perhaps you see someone sitting across the aisle from you on a plane, reading a book by the author that you have sitting on your tray table. You hold your book up; they spot it. You instantly bond as members of the secret club who just know that author rocks the house.
So start counting up the times you connect with total strangers. You may hold a club membership in more groups than you realize.