solidarity - noun - agreement of feeling or action among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group (Google).
Despite what the pessimistic pundits who post on Twitter may try to peddle (Say that three times fast.), these are trying, yet survivable times. When faced with seemingly interminable challenges courtesy of the pandemic, quite a few go on social media not only to eat up time spent at home, but to see how other peers are managing to entertain themselves while at home. My FB friends appear to be drinking designer martinis (chardonnay was last year's passion and now passe'.), cooking massive amounts of fatty food and eating it (nothing new), or finding nostalgic trivia games to post that only reveal how bored we all are with a menu with few blue plate specials that we haven't already tried. Last year's quarantine omelet, for instance, has long tasted ordinary and has recently become downright bland.
For the divorced, single woman whose romantic possibility lives 3,000 miles away and who is a thin teetotaler, the aforementioned pastimes aren't an option. What I do when I want to feel alive in Death Valley (I know; the analogy is a bit extreme.) is reach out to friends if only via the usual or unusual means. Fortunately, over the years, I have formed separate groups of women friends and have found there is solidarity and survival in sisterhood. First, there is the Ya Ya Sisterhood, not original nominally, but unique in that we are a book club of five nearly all retired high school teachers, who once were colleagues in the same building, but not department. We find solace in the monthly critical analysis of mainly mediocre tomes; however, every once in a while, there will be one with characters to which we can actually relate personally. At which point, solidarity shines through via the admission of mutual feelings and experiences.
A somewhat similar collection of "sisters" is the Bahama Mamas (six of us former middle school teachers. I taught middle school before teaching high school in the same district.). The moniker dates back to a weekend trip we took down to Atlantic City one summer. Because it occurred years ago, I can't even remember the connection between A.C. and the Bahamas other than the fact that both places have beaches on which similar assemblies of aging female tourists bask anonymously under umbrellas.
Then there is the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sandals, three of us excessively immature, bosom buddies who tend to meet in person only once a year due to constraints of mileage. But when we do, our close-knit commonality is proven via our choice of footwear. Without prior consultation, we each tend to show up wearing a similar pair of sandals. On each occasion, we fatuously document the unfathomable coincidence via photos memorized on our smartphones and share them with each other via texts.
There is one group that is made up of three biological sisters and two outliers (myself included), which I call "The Church Ladies" although one of us is Jewish. We tend to meet and greet only to celebrate our birthdays but have been doing so forever.
Finally, there are the "Sex and the City Friends," my unofficial sorority of former high school friends who are so similar to Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda that they could be their stand-ins. I suppose I would be Carrie as I am the writerly one who always seems to land on her feet but sans a full-time man.
Most of the women in these contrived clubs are married, something that doesn't faze me in the least as I was once in that unfortunate state myself and can still draw examples of spousal idiosyncrasies, if necessary, to stay in the conversation. The point is that we are around for each other, existing independently from our biological sisters (except for The Church Ladies), yet possessing a heightened degree of camaraderie that often does not exist between relations.
If you happen to be a woman and don't belong to a sisterhood, you might just want to form one of your own, especially if the cuisine of Tahiti is starting to look unappetizing, the trivia games, growing redundant and Zooms with your adult kids in Peoria or cousins in Oswego are getting to be on the dull side. Reach out to the gals, any number of them, but try Google Meet because you get a full hour free as opposed to forty minutes on Zoom :).
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