WHEN you join a group it's hard to know whether it's going to suit you.
Some group activities can get very dull very quickly because, well, there are other humans there.
It's like a lottery. What are the odds that you are going to like the activity and stick with it? What are the odds that the people in the group will make you feel welcome? By this, I mean everyone could ignore you, look right through you when you say, "hello, I'm ... um, no one".
Or they could be too enthusiastic. The head of the group might insist on introducing you to everyone assembled, with the view of testing you on their names later.
Then there are the over-serious brigade who have been doing an activity for decades and will not tolerate any deviation from the rules and regs. It doesn't take long to realise that this experience is going to be as draining and hostile as a high-school indoor PE class on a wet day.
More importantly, what are the odds that the other people in the group are not going to annoy the hell out of you?
A few weeks ago, I joined a group.
Surprisingly, I liked the first session. Everyone was lovely and I liked the activity.
I turned up again the next week.
Same thing. It was enjoyable.
Mindful of my low tolerance for group situations, I decided on the three-times-lucky rule. If I was still happy by the end of session three, I would commit to another few months.
Halfway through, I was still undecided. Then something happened: The Benny Hill Show theme tune cut through the silence.
Yes, Yakety Sax was unleashed on the unsuspecting group.
Before I continue, I need to confess that I can't think of one situation where the sound of Yakety Sax or a Whoopee cushion would not make me laugh: weddings, parties, funerals ... anything.
A lot of people would gasp at this, but that's OK, we are never going to be friends anyway.
Back in the room, a red-faced man ran to his bag and tried to kill his phone ringtone with all the desperation of someone trying to defuse a ticking time bomb.
He needn't have worried, as the whole room erupted in laughter. It was joyous.
I was in.
It's been a few weeks and I'm still turning up weekly. I'm not sure when the Whoopee cushion will make an appearance, but there's plenty of time.
We've only just begun.
MORE FROM DEB RICHARDS
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