Her toe was bleeding everywhere.
My back was aching and I was tired. (I didn’t want to help with all the tables but it wouldn’t have been right not to).
Someone was searching for bandages. Some people were starting to fight. Someone else called 911.
It was going to be a long night.
Earlier at the party I heard the volume rise to a slightly uncomfortable level. At some point people stopped laughing at things that were actually funny and instead laughed at everything. More scraping of chairs, more things breaking and getting tipped over.
I knew it was time to go.
But I didn’t.
All hell broke loose a few minutes later.
That’s the thing about making an exit. It’s all about timing.
The trick is you’ve got to exit when things start to get sloppy. Sloppyness sounds like the volume is a little too loud. People aren’t really listening anymore. Lots of your friends have already left.
You don’t want to leave at the end of the party; that’s where the drama happens. That’s where all the BAD things happen.
You want to leave the party with grace. While everyone is still happy. While everyone is still SOBER.
In Karate; after a series of movements, there is step away and a sharp and snappy low block. I asked a teacher why this movement. He replied: “Because you’ve got to learn to exit with grace.”
I try and remember; whether it’s a stock, a martial arts move, or even a party; when it seems like it might be time to go… it probably is.
Exit with grace.
A few days ago the oldest member my community passed.
His name was Tom; and Tom was one of the sweetest content people I’ve ever met. Tom was 88, got around fine, drove every day to get his coffee at Panera.
He got in his car outside his restaurant, slumped over his steering wheel and died.
They said he had a heart attack. Took him to the hospital and tried to revive him with all the tubes and things.
They wanted him to stay; but Tom knew it was time to leave the party.
No bloody toes. No fights. No drunks. Tom left before things got messy.
I hope I can have as much grace.