Partygirl and I went off to class last night. I had not seen her all summer. We always intend to get together during the summer, but then we never do, so we had a lot of catching up to do. She is a Delta girl, too (geographically, I mean; I’m not talking about sororities) so she had a lot to say about the situation with Hurricane Katrina. With one thing and another, it was quite late by the time I got home. Late for me, anyway.

She and I are not in the same small group — I think they try to keep good friends apart for the sake of keeping the discussions general. My small group is an interesting one, though. La Grecque, who was in my group last year, is there, and I am very glad of it. Her comments are always very deep and well-thought-out. There are a couple of my customers, as well, both charming women. There are two ladies from Syracuse who nearly fell upon each other with glad cries upon discovering that they were both from Syracuse.

“Never mind, honey,” said an older lady, “you’re here now.” It seemed to be intended to be comforting. This lady is a talker, and I could just hear the group leader thinking about how she is going to have to squelch her if there is to be any opportunity for anyone else to speak in this group.

We introduced ourselves. I was the last, so I had plenty of time as we went around the circle to determine what the custom of introduction was. Everyone listed her children, essentially. A few told us where they came from, La Grecque being single told us her job, but mostly everyone just listed her kids. That’s what I did, too. Avoiding excessive self-disclosure, you know. I try really hard not to talk too much in these groups. Partygirl and I always talk about it all the way home, so it isn’t as though I don’t get enough of a chance to express myself.

That is odd, though, isn’t it? Here we were, 15 women from say 30 to 60, all with different jobs and life experiences and backgrounds, and all we found to say about ourselves was the number of children we had? Some said they were married, but most of us just let that be assumed. Were they all following the crowd, either sheep-like or, like me, strategically to fit in? We later had the excellent lecturer say to us “every man, including you” — a tolerably odd thing to say to a large roomful of women. This may just be a sexist group. But I am open-minded, and can hang out with sexists without being driven to try to change their minds. I just don’t like to see it among women.

Partygirl got in mild trouble in her class for saying something which revealed her church membership. This class has about 300 women in it, from every religious tradition, including the occasional backsliding atheist, and one of the rules is that we don’t talk about our own churches. Partygirl made a casual remark which included “when you look up at the crucifix and see the body of Jesus” — obviously, they did more in her group than list their children. Anyway, it was clear that she was a Catholic, because Protestants don’t have the body of Jesus on the cross.

I don’t think she earned a rebuke with that, though. How is she supposed to know? A person who is interested in comparative religion can often tell from people’s turns of phrase, or what hymns they know, which flavor of religion they are accustomed to. But if you haven’t thought about it before, I don’t think you would know this.

Brooklyn is on its raglan decreases. I got quite a bit done during the merchants’ meeting yesterday morning. I am still contemplating the hat color question — and I greatly appreciate your opinions on the question. Both would be nice, wouldn’t they? I could do one of each. If I hurry.