Thursday, February 14, 2008

Is it me?

The other day I was at the park, and I met some parents with two lovely children. We chatted until I needed to go, and I left feeling as though I'd connected to people in my parent's neighborhood.

I walked home and felt a little sad that this never happens to me.

Okay, well, it's a few times--so I could count on one hand. In nearly eighteen months.
Are people just less sociable than they used to be? I've been to parks several times and tried to strike up conversations with parents of kids roughly the same age as mine. Only to have it sort of fizzle. Once, I said, "Hi, I'm Heather," only to have the people look at me, then look away without responding in kind.

It's made me a little worried about underarm odor or unsightly body hair. Am I that scary?

Granted, it could be me: I'm not the most socially adept person I know. I'm that person that on the airplane makes polite conversation while really sneaking longing glances at my paperback. I get flustered when people talk to me on public transportation. That sort of thing.
But somehow, the park seems different to me. Like, well, our children might actually want to play together at some point--and it's terribly lonely being a parent sometimes. Especially a mom during the day. Wouldn't it be good to know your neighbors? What's with people who won't even introduce themselves, or who act as though I'm stalking their children when I ask their name?
I had one other really nice conversation with someone that actually lived in my neighborhood about three months ago. Nice lady--son about my age. Her name was Amy, and she lived in my development (which is very noticeably not full of children). But I haven't seen her since. I have a feeling that I'll never see the lovely couple I met yesterday again either--after all, I'll be leaving my parent's neighborhood soon.

It's made me sad, how fragmented and isolated our communities are. How frightened people seem of eachother--even in periods of our lives where we desperately need to know people within walking (or toddling) distance.

Sad enough that I might have to do something about that halitosis. Anyone have some Tic Tacs?


The Un-Runner said...

I just read your article in BrainChild - and really enjoyed it! I never tried EC - but I love hearing about it!

And as far as meeting people you connect with - I've met two in the last ten years. There's other folks I'm friends with - but real connections are rare.

And therefore infinitely precious.


writermeeg said...

I'm so with you, Heather. Thus, WMU is a savior for me. I often wonder if it's our area. If I still lived in Madison, Wisconsin (where I was for two years of g-school), would it be easier? I've found San Diego the hardest place I've ever lived to make friends. Is it stage of life, or San Diego? Or do I need Tic Tacs, too?