Brown Bettie Knows Best ~I may not be funny, but I sure know what is. I was at a dinner party the other night. I was a little nervous because, well, 1) I was the “only one” at the party and 2) I hadn’t made time to get a mani/pedi; I felt self-conscious about shaking hands confidently with my nails un-did when I knew I was going to be surrounded by women with their nails did and 3) I had a HUGE cold sore hanging off my lip like an adult tarantula. Therefore, it was only natural that when I sat down at my assigned table full of already-seated guests, that my knees expertly knocked into the table which caused not a little, but a massive tidal wave. Six water glasses clinked, swayed, then overflowed and thoroughly soaked the table cloth, napkins and the pretty *paper* menus neatly tucked under each plate. “Helloooo!” Luckily, I’m funny, so I quickly quipped up something like, “Oh, I think we just had an earthquake. At our table, only.” Hardee-har-har. It broke the ice, and perhaps made all of us feel at ease, I’m sure. But, I was still mortified as I quickly plucked at my water-logged napkin, laid it on my lap and swiftly sat on my hands…all while smiling my winningest smile and willing the tarantula on my lip to fall the f**k off. We exchanged pleasantries and as we were mostly strangers, began to introduce our lives to one another. All had children and I laughingly mentioned that I didn’t have any children, but that I had a cat. Saying that used to make me feel better, but this time, it didn’t. One of the women said to me, “Having children isn’t for everyone”…I was like, “Wait, wait, I do want them. I do!” Don’t I? I guess I’m a late bloomer; I didn’t have the love-of-my-life boyfriend at 18, 22, 25, 35 or … now… who would have activated a family with me like Wonder Twin power. Plus, I’ve been very very busy being a big time Entertainment Professional; have been for over 20 years – it says so on my Linked In profile – so it must be true. So. I sat there with a damp lap, looked at these people and started thinking about choices. …the choices we make that propel our lives forward, backwards, sideways, etc. and how the time lapse involved makes those choices more or less weighty. It’s like having chosen the Blue Pill over the Red Pill, but it is a time-release capsule and now you have to wait and see what the effect of your choice will be. You feel me? We laughed and talked about the funny things kids do; I thought about how my seventeen-month old nephew likes to play dead when he doesn’t get his way. To show how unhappy he is, he literally loses his spine, crumples his legs and with no sound, no focus in the eyes, simply tumbles to the ground. He rolls over and lays spread eagle on the sidewalk, carpet, grass, doesn’t matter. And just lays there. Staring. Between the tidal wave, raggedy nails, tarantula and having a cat as my kid, I wanted to do the same. Just slump out of my chair, topple onto the floor and lay spread eagle while staring into nothingness. At Easter dinner my sister-in-law told us about a friend who was having whatever that amnio-testing stuff is done and how the expectant mother was so nervous because, you know, EVERYTHING CAN GO WRONG WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS AFTER AGE THIRTY-FIVE. There was a brief pause as (I felt) my family kinda hold their breaths as they looked at the 40 year-old white elephant at the table. I just put my head down and looked really closely at my broccoli and cheddar casserole hoping that I wouldn’t catch a side glance from any of them trying to look into my eyes to see how that comment affected me. It took a moment before I could/would look up again…. You know, technically, I’m pretty happy I chose the Blue Pill. I have alotta bounce to my 40-ounce and have enjoyed my life thoroughly thus far. I’m admitting that the time-release capsule is giving me a purple haze, though. I’d like to have a family and all that stuff (you know, so can I have even more bounce to my ounce) and maybe, probably I will. But, in the meantime, I guess, I’ll have to be confident knowing there is a place for me at the table, too. I’ll be the girl who bumps the table and makes others feel comfortable through her weirdo internal awkwardness all while joining in on the laughter called “Life”. Peppur (www.peppurchambers.com) is an actor, writer and creator/ performer of Harlem’s Night Cabaret performed by the sultry, sassy, sophisticated and sometimes funny, Brown Betties. She is currently working on, “The Brown Betties Guide: How to Look for Love In All The Wrong Places.” www.brownbetties.com Email her at email@example.com.