The thing that has been hardest for me about moving is making new friends. And part of me feels ridiculous, saying that, because I don’t really have trouble getting along with people. (You, in the back—shut it.) I’m not particularly shy. I’ll talk to anyone, and despite frequently ramping the dork factor all the way up to 11, FOR THE MOST PART I’m able to enter a social situation and interact in a socially acceptable manner with others.
The problem comes in establishing friendships which go beyond “Hey, how ya doing?” or “I think my kid just kicked your kid in the nuts. I’m really sorry.” (Yes, I’ve actually had to say that already. I considered letting the ground swallow me up, instead, but THE GROUND WASN’T COOPERATING.) These things take time, which I know, but—and I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, because I’m so good at hiding it—I am not a patient person. And I’ve been here for six months already and I really, really miss having MY GIRLS.
My fellow estrogen-types will understand the concept of GIRLS, I think. GIRLS are the ones you can call up and share good news with or cry all over. They’re the ones you can go to and say, “OH MY GOD MY HUSBAND IS DRIVING ME BATSHIT” and they’ll understand you’re just venting and everything is fine. (Not that I ever need to do that. Nope. Love you, honey!) My GIRLS demand I go shopping with them to help them pick out just the right outfit, and they’ve been known to forcibly pry me from my desk to go out for coffee when I’m working too hard. In short, my GIRLS get me.
I’ve made a couple of friends here who are fellow bloggers and whom I like very much, but for the first time in my life I think I’ve managed to befriend a couple of people who are busier than I am. (I almost typed “bustier,” which would’ve been so wrong, because nearly all my friends are bustier than I am!) We get together now and then, but schedules are hard to coordinate. And while they know the blog-me, we are in different life phases (Leandra’s kids are quite a bit younger than mine, Tammy is busy growing her first one) so the day-to-day stuff related to kids and school is not something we have in common.
The women I’ve met through the kids’ school are ones with whom I have much of the “life phase” stuff in common—for example, everyone I met through Monkey’s soccer team has a son the same age as mine—but I don’t feel like many (any?) of them have anything in common with me career-wise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the truth is that I tend to be somewhat vague when questioned because the only thing I can imagine that is more awkward and painful than trying to get a group of females to LIKE ME, PLEASE PLEASE JUST LIKE ME at this age is trying to get the same group to like me when they barely know me but have access to this blog. So.
“Oh, where do you work?” they asked, when I first arrived on the scene.
“I work from home,” I replied, a little wary. “I’m a freelancer.”
“What do you do?” they’d press.
I’d take a deep breath. “I’m a writer,” I’d admit. And then… the inevitable. What do you write, have I ever read you, etc. Right about the point where I admit I’m primarily a corporate blogger, their eyes would glaze over.
Fortunately, those tense moments were often interrupted by someone taking a soccer ball to the face. Thank goodness for poor aim and youthful enthusiasm!
Last week when I was having the server crisis, I showed up at a soccer practice probably looking exactly how I felt, which was like someone who hadn’t slept in several days and was ready to rip a strip off of the next person who looked at me sideways. Someone asked me what was wrong, and in my state of exhaustion and despondence, I TOLD HER.
I think it went something like this: “Wah wah wah catastrophic server failure wah wah wah all my sites gone wah wah wah my business, my work, AAAAAAAAAAAAIIIEEEEEEE!”
Perhaps it was my flailing arms to accompany this diatribe—I’m sure I’ll never know for sure—but this attracted the attention not only of the women sitting around, but many of the husbands who were in attendance as well. And so it happened that suddenly everyone was very interested to know what web sites it is that I run that I was so distraught over losing.
“Well, I, uh, run a shopping blog. A bargain thing.” And they asked for the address, so I gave it to them. “It’s called Want Not.” People nodded, asked questions. I think I saw someone writing it down. Okay, fine. By the time we had the next soccer game, my sites were back up, and a few folks told me they’d checked out Want Not. One woman even told me she was sending it out to friends and family, and I tried to act casual instead of INSANELY FLATTERED which is how I felt.
But the thing is, now that they have that address, it’s only a matter of time before they all find this site. So I’m feeling the press to HURRY UP AND MAKE THEM LIKE ME before they stumble across my little haven of dorkdom, here.
To that end, there was some discussion amongst the soccer moms about having an accomplished knitter in our midst teach everyone how to knit. I don’t know how to knit. I don’t want to know how to knit. If I had time to knit, I would spend it doing the fifty-gazillion other things I’m not getting done, or maybe just reading a good book, but NOT KNITTING. I have occasionally considered stabbing myself or others with a knitting needle, but that’s as far as it’s gone.
So naturally, I offered to host this meeting. “Come do it at my house! I’ll have snacks!” Hey, I am excellent at snacks. And I like these women, and DAMMIT, I NEED GIRLS. And I was honest—someone said, “Do you want to learn to knit?” and I said “Hell no. I want to drink wine and eat snacks and watch YOU knit.” And they seemed okay with that.
All of which means that tonight, some women are coming over to my house to knit. It is my sincere hope that I get all of my work done early today so that I have time to do things like clean up the living room and shower. And construct an elaborate device that can be invisibly wedged into my mouth to prevent the (further) insertion of my foot.
It’s all part of my nefarious plan. After they’ve sat around knitting together, the fact that I share my innermost thoughts with the entire internet won’t seem weird at all. Right? RIGHT?
I’m thinking I’d better go bake something with a lot of chocolate in it, just to hedge my bets.