One thing I forgot to mention in the volunteer posts is that technically I also was a volunteer at the Stargazer’s Lounge.
Basically, there was a big suite rented out for the weekend where people could just hang. And they needed volunteers to rotate in to, I dunno, watch it – make sure nothing was getting set on fire or anything.
So, basically I got to go in and just hang out with people.
Not surprisingly, there were some really interesting people to meet at the Mensa Regional Gathering.
I mean, confession time – After being in Mensa for a while, I kind of got the sense that a lot of Mensans were sort of annoying… It kind of seems like a lot of us are very stubborn. We maybe kind of love to argue.
(This has perhaps been a great mirror for me to see myself in. It’s possible that I could sometimes be a little better at listening to others’ ideas.)
Anyway, part of me had starting writing Mensans off (which I know is a little silly since I am one).
Why did I even join if I don’t do a lot with it and the people kind of annoy me? Simple. Lisa Simpson did. Even though she is 10 and fictional, she is kind of my role model in many ways. (Usually that sentence might sound crazy to have a 10-year-old cartoon role model. But let’s get real. She is Lisa Simpson!)
But being at this Regional Gathering I felt helped to see the other side of Mensans – not the side that’s trying to decide the answers to sprucing up the website or trying to get more people to switch to the e-newsletter. No, this is just the hang out side of people. And that was pretty cool.
I met a guy who’d won a million dollars in the California Lottery. (He partially used logic and statistics to get there!) That was pretty fascinating. There were all sorts of different people. So, it was fun.
One woman really helped me to better understand why people enjoy being in Mensa. ‘Cause I’d been wondering lately if I was going to renew my membership, or what the point was really. She told me she’d joined when she was much younger because back then it was hard to get people to engage with women in relevant conversations. And she wanted a place where she was celebrated for being smart, not pushed to the corner.
Now, I am so not saying that we’ve solved the gender problem in America. (We have so, so not solved it.) But to think Mensa was a solitude for women when the problem was even worse, I understood better – Mensa is a place to belong when you feel on the outskirts.
I have never really felt on the outskirts when it comes to intelligence level. I know many fascinating people, and I don’t think of people based on their IQs. There’s something to learn from everyone. And off the top of my head, I can’t really think of any times in my life when I’ve been relegated to the corner for being a woman.
But it was nice to get the perspective that some people liked Mensa because it gave them a place where they could be respected. And I think knowing why people enjoy Mensa will be helpful to me as I sit on the board for one more year.
What’ll happen after that year? Will I stick with Mensa? Will I run for another term? I’m not sure. But I’m happy that while I am in this organization, I finally took the time to volunteer, meet people, and get a deeper understanding of it. (I mean, why be a part of it otherwise, right?)