Groovy Gemütlichkeit

Tonight I passed the best evening I can remember in perhaps fifteen years. I’m high, but it’s not due to wine or any other intoxicant. It’s due to the dinner party Noelle and her parents provided at the Thai Cafe in celebration of her doctorate hooding. The hardest thing we drank was a Thai iced tea. Really.

And if tonight wasn’t perfect enough (I’ll get back to tonight in just a minute), last night after the graduation ceremony, Noelle and her parents, Marshall and Sandy, who are from upstate New York, came to our house to celebrate. We met them for the first time last summer and took to them immediately. Last night was even more delightful than our first meeting. We sat out on our veranda for a while, the fountain and the crickets playing a lovely soundtrack, and moved indoors when the breeze became a little too cool. Fortified with numerous munchies (which they brought) and wine, and Gordon Lightfoot, Stan Getz, Joshua Kadison, and Queen Latifa on the stereo (in turns, of course), we embarked upon a most enjoyable evening of conversation, discovery and camaraderie, discussing everything from the election of the new pope, to invoking the Goddess, to the best recipe for hot and sour soup. I have never felt so at home with people I really didn’t know. During the moments when I wasn’t actually speaking, all I could do was sit and listen, marveling in how familiar it all was to me. It was all about one German word.


In Germany and Austria, gemütlichkeit (geh-MEWT-leh-kite) loosely translates as “cosiness” but actually possesses a more complex subtlety. I’m sorry. It really doesn’t translate into words very well. It’s all about feelings, but you don’t have to be German to know the feeling. When you’re in a room with friends and everything just seems to click in a warm embrace of familiarity and warmth with a touch of nostalgia…that’s the best I can define it. Only the Germanic people could create a word for this feeling.

And then tonight happened. I wasn’t expecting it, but that’s always best. Nettl and I went to the Thai Cafe, where Noelle, Sandy and Marshall were at a table. Later, Marshall’s cousin, Al arrived, and a few minutes after that his wife, Barbara.

When I meet new people I never know just how much I can disclose about myself, so I step back. Tonight I introduced myself, then Lynette as my partner. Hm. No eyebrow lift, no glazing over of the eyes. I had no need to worry. These were the coolest people I’ve met in ages, along with Noelle’s parents. Coolness runs in their family, I guess. But as the evening progressed, I was astounded over and over again by the connections I had with these people. They’re involved in a group here in Stillwater, the Progressive Interfaith Coalition, who is working to make changes here in Oklahoma concerning not only GLBT concerns, but those of oppressed people across the board.

Until tonight, all I knew, personally, about my generation was that they had all either sold out to drugs or to “the man.” Either way, I’ve felt for many years that the really good members of my generation had disappeared somewhere. And especially since moving to Oklahoma I’ve felt like an ex-patriot of sorts, a banished exile. I even began writing a book called, “Where Have All The Flowers Gone?” because I couldn’t find my generation anywhere. And I’m not talking about the pot-smoking, acid-dropping Great Unwashed. I missed the spirit of my era. So I found friends twenty years younger than myself. They were vital, full of passion, opinionated, ALIVE! I was ashamed of my aging generation. Did we sell out? Did we grow jaded, complacent, apathetic? Or did we simply burn ourselves out? Tonight was a reunion for me with others like myself. I really don’t possess the writing ability to express the impact tonight had on me. We talked about Doc Watson and Joni Mitchell and Attica and Bob Dylan and Greenwich Village in the early ’60s.

So I’m getting involved with the PIC. In fact, I’m going to become a card-carrying member.