Monday, August 27, 2012

Missed connections.

The annual back to school BBQ and re-orientation event happened today at the high school. We're new there, new to High School. I barely know my way around the building. I am not in the minority of parents who actually attended this high school ahead of their kids. The place is new but the faces are all the same, the moms mostly, some dads come to the event that is sort of informal and awkward. The students are instructed to sit up front in the auditorium while the adults are scattered everywhere in little clumps mostly close to the edges of the rows for quick exiting. We arrive late and sit smack in the middle of a row. The lights are bright and it feels like we have wandered into a grocery store at midnight after being out in a bar. I feel out of place as usual but try to listen to what the tan man who must be the principal is saying. He's funny and direct with the kids and that feels good and my discomfort momentarily subsides. Then, it's over and it is time to go outside to have a free hamburger on a white bun that I know I will regret eating later. I lose Mark immediately upon getting up to leave and I try to make eye contact with a few of the other moms. We don't have much to say to each other, at least I feel at a loss to say much beyond spewing something about how strange it all is but I stop myself, those are not the lines for this particular skit and we're all having slightly different experiences. I smile to the left I smile to the right and slowly move toward the smoke of the BBQ that is now filling the entry hall.

Outside, I decide to sit down and let the hamburger line die down while another mom moves past me. She looked a little lost so I said "Hi" and she came over. I think she would have sat there and said absolutely nothing if I had not asked a few questions and even then she did not inquire about my summer, my plans for fall, my garden. At these times I feel like I am in a haze, the twighlight zone where everything is stretchy and perspectives are angled. I move away and get in the food line near my kid who wants to act like I am not there but I give her the "don't even begin to give me any of that; I can act completely different at school bullshit" look and then I begin chatting with another mom who attended the high school and is having the strange experience of being there as an adult. She's maybe 31. I take it she wasn't the best student back then. Oh well I think, I got the hell out of my own little town and have missed out on that fate. We have a positive but brief exchange about time and remembering to breathe and I feel like that might have been the most real exchange I have had the entire time I have interacted with all these mom types. I get my burger, Mark has a second and we eat and leave.

I come away feeling conflicted. I don't really want anything from them, not friendship, I don't need to be invited to their homes, I am happy to be invisible but something tells me I am not entirely. I am helpful when I can be, I engage when I must, I am aware of what is happening within the little community but it's my choice to stay outside the circle of familiarity so maybe I should just be grateful to them for respecting my privacy. Although, I do know I am a good listener and a pretty good friend and so it's sad that none of them ever tried to buddy up with me, but then again I probably haven't been putting out the right signals and my dance-card is pretty full. Next.

1 comment:

Twisted Susan said...

Making a friend is like falling in love. Keep your eyes peeled.

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