This is the basic narrative of a phone call I had last night (this morning, technically). With my friend S., who I've been very good friends with for around 10 years. She lives in New Mexico. It's probably not verbatim, as I'm sort of in shock, but it's close.
Her: Hi there!
Me: HEYYYYY, How are you???
Her: Do you know who this is?
Me: Um, yeah...since when would I not recognize your voice.
Her: Okay, just wanted to be sure I warranted all that enthusiasm.
Me: Well, yeah!
Her: Guess where I am?
Me: Uh...I dunno? (getting suspicious)
(she whispers in background: what bridge is this? mumble responds)
Her: I'm going over the George Washington bridge!
Me: Oh. Wow. Whatya doing here?
Her: I came to get engaged.
Her: I got engaged about 20 minutes ago.
Her: ..and you're one of my dearest friends, so I wanted you to be among the first to know.
Me: Uh... Oh. Um...thanks.
(make that: awkward pause)
Her: Are you surprised? C'mon, you knew it was inevitable!
Yes, I knew that my friend S. wanted to get married and have children. That's been true pretty much the entire time I've known her.
Me: Well, yeah...but I expected to at least have some clue that you'd met someone you liked...
Her: Oh, well, in religious circles, you just don't talk about that sort of thing before the engagement.
Me: Religious circles? You don't talk about meeting interesting people?
Me: Oh. Huh.
Yes, I knew S. converted to Orthodox Judaism a couple of years ago. Though we talk (or IM) regularly, it hasn't really been discussed that much, due to some rather painful early incidents. And except where it has crossed my friendship with S. so painfully, I haven't explored it at all. Apparently I should have.
Me: Um. Is it safe to offer congratulations? Is that allowed?
Her: (laughing) Yes!
Me: Congratulations. I think.
Her: (still laughing) Thank you. You think??
Me: Well, yeah. I'm not entirely sure about this whole thing.
Her: Yeah, I know you're not all that keen on this stuff.
Me: (thinking: which of the 80 different things I might have issues with is the one she's thinking of???) This stuff. Yeah. On SO many levels.
Her: On Sunday we're having the [insert unknown Hebrew word here]...it's kind of an engagement party. I'd really like for you to be there...if you can make it...and if you feel comfortable going.
Me: Oh. Well, I'm working this weekend. If I'd had some warning I wouldn't have been scheduled.
Her: Well, no one had any warning.
Me: Okay, well, I'll be working 36 hours in three days, so I won't be able to make it.
Her: Okay. I understand.
Her: Well, I need to go now. There are other people I want to call with the news, and I'm tired; I've been up since about 5:30 this morning.
Me: Okay. Um...have fun? (pause) And give me a call when you have time to catch me up, okay?
Her: Sure. I love you sweetie, g'night!
Me: Love you too...
I then proceeded to play Spherejongg (a game I'm rather good at) mindlessly for awhile, winning only 2 games of perhaps 25. Finally I called gregortroll and talked through it for a bit. Then slept. Of course, I dreamed about the weirdness, so I didn't sleep all that well. And I woke up entirely too early.
More on this as I continue to digest it; I suspect this'll be good for years of journalling and therapy.