Jello Shooters, Electric Guitars, and the Conductivity of Water

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Life in the Third Degree.

I’m not sure which alcoholic drink caused me to contemplate the meaning of play, but eight hours into the party, standing in the rain and lightning and listening to the last of the Joe-a-Palooza bands, I was pretty sure of the definition.

Working Through Grief

I’m not much of a drinker—half a glass of wine puts me under the table—but Joe and Kat throw a nice little shindig that’s wonderfully laid back in comparison to the straight-jacket black-tie charity galas of my past.

So with a little alcohol in my system and my cell phone off, something helped me re-define the meaning of play. Maybe it was the fruity local white wine Kathy shoved at me the minute I walked into her husband’s 40th birthday party.

Or maybe the blue Jello shooters Matt tried unsuccessfully to talk me into sucking down, though Jeaneen was the one who finally persuaded me and I never did manage to tongue the Jello out with Matt’s wicked adeptness. Or maybe it was the Dreamsickle slushee that a woman named Lu mixed in the blender that had us all buzzing more than the electric bass player who was shirtless in the downpour.

Just being at the party was part of my plan to play more. My guides have been telling me for the past year to play more. Mark, my counselor, had told me to play more, too. Then Meredith, the newest entity I’ve encountered, gave me the same message: play more.

So I’ve been playing more. And my friends agree it’s something I need to do—they just don’t agree with how.

My friends at my day job think of “playing” as stuff they like—rollercoasters, golfing, swimming—that’s their play, their fun.

When they ask what I’m doing for the long weekend, I mention building a new patio or gardening or painting the hallway purple. Then I promptly watch the frowns plow across their foreheads as they prepare to lecture me on having more fun. To them, that’s work.

I mention day-long trips to healing sessions and working with earth energies and entities, and my friends fear I’m either dabbling too much in the Spirit World or working too hard at it. But to me, it’s play, too.

I talk about a whole day alone to hole up in my home office and write, and they wonder how hard work and solitude can be fun.

“You need to have more fun,” they tell me. “You need to play more.”

I am, but in my own way. Their ideas of fun bore me to tears. Activities, yes, but empty to me.

Yet I stand in the rain—quiet, smiling, watching, enjoying the energy of the band as well as their sound—and I remember for the first time in a long time how much I always enjoyed just listening to live music, connecting with the band and the beat, and losing myself in the songs.

“Aren’t you having a good time?” some potentially bi-sexual woman I don’t know asks, noticing that I’m quiet and no longer drinking as I simply watch the band and listen. “Aren’t you having any fun?” she asks.

Yes, I’m having fun just standing here and watching and listening and absorbing. To me, it’s fun. More than she could ever guess. Trust me on this! Because this, in my own way, is one of my favorite forms of play.