Leaving noises

Whenever my family is getting ready to go somewhere out of the house, my Dad uses the expression “leaving noises,” in the sense, “OK, let’s make leaving noises.”

I guess that literal leaving noises would be doors opening and closing, the up-and-down motion of bags, the rolling of wheels, and footsteps making a beeline for the vehicle of choice.

He also uses this term when talking about leaving social events, and it makes me want to reflect on that.

When I was younger, I was super-regimented about my sleeping schedule, and whenever we went to a social function in the evening, I always eagerly awaited leaving so that I could get home, go to sleep, or perhaps play video games. This was during the “heyday” of my Asperger syndrome limiting my will to be in social situations, and combines well with the Walks on Campus that Dad and I did to escape synagogue-based parties that were downtown in Lincoln.

Fast-forwarding to 2005, I was at my cousin Emma’s בת מצוה (bat mitzvah) party, and I was having a good time (though it wasn’t just that I was surrounded by family, but that there was a karaoke machine that made it a great time). Yet, I made leaving noises early. This time, however, it wasn’t because of disliking the party.

Nope, I was party-hopping! I headed to the Union Plaza at the University, for one of the Orientation Weekend parties. It was fun to listen to music outside, but since I was still fairly regimented in my sleeping schedule, I didn’t last very long in the party before going to crash in the dorm room. Nevertheless, I can point to this being one of the first times that I realized I could enjoy the party without being the first person out of the door!

When I went to sporting events, I often postponed leaving noises, either to meet with the team or cheerleaders or band members, or to see my family who was also at the game. This is a different application of leaving noises, but is an application nonetheless. Clearly, I felt more comfortable at a sporting event than a party at the time.

Fast forward to Northwestern. On my first bar night with colleagues, I was somewhat insufferable after midnight, since I felt constrained by the group and was tangry (tired and angry) (yes, that might be one time where I showed anger, though it wasn’t at anyone other than myself for not taking a power nap earlier in the day)! Unlike the parties in Lincoln, it would NOT have been a good idea to leave the bar and wander about.

But, like many other transformations that the year 2011 (and Birthright in particular) created in me, my perspective on leaving noises greatly changed after Birthright. In fact, next month I will have a post-a-day sequence from July 20 until July 31 on Birthright, and the Five-Years-Later reflections on each day. Thus, I’ll postpone discussion of that change until I get to next month. Yay, a cliffhanger!

Fast forward now to this year. I now love going to social functions or outings with friends, and find the leaving noises very difficult. Sometimes, it’s since I’ve had a great time (e.g. a 20s/30s party or social function), sometimes it’s since I’ve been with great friends, and sometimes it’s because others in the group are the “Rottweilers.”

How much life can change if you allow yourself to change. I have definitely pulled a pi from 10-15 years ago, as leaving noises are now very challenging for me. On the outbound because I am absentminded and tend to forget to bring necessary items, and on the inbound because I enjoy my social situations!


Columbus: 10 days.

Twenty-Nine: 13 days.

Kenosha: 40 days.

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