Singles Shabbaton Chronicles Part 15: It's waky waky time
Saturday 10 am
I have davened (prayed) in my room; most of the synagogue services around here start too early for me to make it, and the Shabbaton davening will be long and unfamiliar. According to the written schedule, kiddush and breakfast are at 10. For once in my life I am on time.
I walk downstairs into the lobby and see 15 older ladies -- older than my mom-- sitting in a circle, talking. They invite me to join them. I ask what they are talking about. They say “blind dates.” I notice that Fascist Control Freak lady is talking at length. I say “No, thank you. Shabbat Shalom” and walk off. I don’t care any more about being rude. I want to go home.
The Shabbaton prayer services are still going strong. Breakfast is laid out but I don’t want to eat until I hear kiddush. A 50-something man with a British accent (who had attended shule elsewhere) starts helping himself. While downing his traditional Israeli-hotel breakfast of cottage cheese, yogurt, green peppers, corn, eggs, tomatos, herring, and potato salad, he tells me that this Shabbaton “is not my type of crowd” and “I’m an independent thinker” and “I’m going to do my own thing today.” I can’t say I blame him. I also can’t say that I like him.
A young married lady, who turns out to be a non-Shabbaton guest at the hotel, hears me say that I’m waiting for kiddush and says, in perfectly-accented American English, “My husband will be back from shule soon; you can hear kiddush with us.” I am filled with gratitude. I guess she sees that I am suffering, because she invites me to sit with them at lunch, as well. Then she starts her own praying, so our conversation is at an end.
Twenty-four hours ago I was ready to try to “connect” with people, even people who are not for me, because the world is a fascinating place and everyone has something to offer. But now I’m in survival mode. I have only one goal: to make it through Shabbat without bursting into tears again or ripping my hair out.
I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t go in the lobby, because that’s where Hairbun is talking about her blind dates. I can’t go upstairs, because I might miss kiddush. If I stay in the dining hall, I’ll have nothing to do but make small talk with British Independent Thinker guy who is as old as my father.