As I may have alluded to here once or twice (ha!), my transition to southern belle has been a little rocky. I love it here, I really do; this town is, as I’m fond of saying, very much like my hometown but with more bacon. In the sense that a new area could feel like HOME purely on objective environment, it’s aces. Nevertheless, it’s a new place and that brings its own stressors along with it, like having to find everything again and make new friends and just feel like I BELONG.
I don’t know if you have noticed this, because I hide it so well (what with the being incredibly suave and all), but I am sort of an awkward person in general. In any given situation I am apt to manage to meet the bare minimum of polite interaction while feeling like a giant Fakey McFakerpants on the inside, so this elusive feeling of BELONGING is something that doesn’t come easily to me, even when I HAVEN’T just uprooted my entire life and moved to a different part of the country.
Frequent commenter Amy-Go (who really needs her own blog already) (I’m just sayin’) (HINT, HINT) is not only a really lovely human being who has been known to send me pie in the mail (and that, as I’m sure you know, puts her somewhere between Ghandi and Mother Teresa on the sainthood scale) and whom I finally met this summer, she is also a veteran mover. I don’t know how many times she has had to pack up her family and relocate, but she is an expert, is what I’m saying. And because she’s so pretty and nice, even though she’d just had major surgery, when she noticed me feeling a little blue she immediately reached out to me.
Allow me to summarize our string of emails in this way:
Her: Are you okay?
Me: Yes. No. Maybe. Except for the part where I’m not, sure.
Her: You know, I have moved a whole bunch. Maybe I can help?
Me: Oh! That’s right, you HAVE! Okay, tell me what to do. Because I know people but I do not KNOW PEOPLE and I am sad and snivelly and I probably need to stop calling my girlfriends back up in New England and crying on them.
Her: Well… have you found a church? Are you back to singing in the choir?
Me: We’ve found a church, but I don’t know, they haven’t called or visited and I think we fell through the cracks because we started in the summer and one of the pastors was away and there is nothing WRONG with it but I am just not getting that WARM FUZZY and I don’t want to join the choir if we’re not going to stay and I don’t know, it is not my old church and therefore I cannot give it my whole heart, WAH WAH WAH WAH DOOM AND GLOOM.
Her: Sheesh. Join the choir, woman. It’s a CHOIR, not a lifelong commitment. Quit yer whining and go.
Me: *meekly* Okay.
So I went and joined the choir. You know, to meet people. And also because choir was an important part of my life, back up north, for all of the sorts of reasons that people who sing in church choirs really dig it. (I shall not bore you with my religious convictions. Surely someone would point out that they clash terribly with my liberal use of potty words.)
The first rehearsal I went to, I just sat there and sang where I was supposed to, and figured that maybe afterwards some people would talk to me. Not so much. Everyone left the minute the director said “thanks for coming,” scattering after just a couple of quick, “Hi, welcome”s.
I was a little disappointed. But I told myself that I needed to be patient. I also completely forgot the part where being nervous causes me to firmly lodge my foot in my mouth, anyway, and how I was probably better off having not, you know, TALKED to anyone. But I was soon to remember!
At the second rehearsal, I managed to arrive a little earlier, and I was met coming up the aisle by two women whom I didn’t recognize from the first rehearsal.
“Hi,” said one of them. “You must be Mir!”
I looked around behind me. Because I am smooth. “I must be!” I agreed. “Hi!”
“We heard about you,” the other woman said. My face must’ve reflected the panic I felt, because she rushed on, “Nothing bad! We heard you’re an alto, that you have a lovely voice, and that you’re a great sight-reader!”
“Oh!” I said, relieved. “Well… wow.” They were both looking at me expectantly.
This is the point at which a NORMAL HUMAN would say “thank you.” But as I have not yet outgrown that awkward phase, here’s what I said, instead:
“You know, this is a problem. I mean, I like to set the bar low, so that there’s no disappointments later on.” They chuckled, perhaps wondering if I had been dropped on my head as a baby. “So, yeah, it’s true that I’m an alto, but I’m actually a pretty lousy sight-reader.” They started to look uncomfortable, but I JUST KEPT TALKING. “What I AM, you see, is a really good mimic. The woman sitting behind me was pitch perfect, and I just sang what she did.” Now the two woman were looking at each other, clearly wondering how to respond. Since I was already well past my ankle with the foot-gnawing, I decided to give them an easy out. “I don’t know her name!” I continued, gaily. “She is pretty! And has short hair?”
“OH!” said one of them, relieved to be back on NON-CRAZY YAMMERING territory. “That’s… is she tall?” I nodded. Truly, I have no idea if she’s tall or not. She was sitting down, you know. “I think that’s Jane. Yes. Probably it was Jane. She has a nice voice.”
“Yes she does,” I agreed. “I’ll just do what she does! And people will think I know what I’m doing! Haha!”
We all looked at each other for a moment.
“Well it was really nice to meet you!” I said, and slunk off to my seat while they ran away from me as quickly as possible.
Yep. Choir is going to be AWESOME.