Friday, June 20, 2008

A Cold June in New England

I am very much a product of my New England upbringing. That is to say, I'm cold--like a November pilgrim alone in her one-room shanty mushing corn into meal. I don't tend to enthuse much with strangers. I'm slightly more animated with acquaintances. It's only with good friends (and preferably a few glasses of wine) that I begin to act like I give a good goddamn about those around me--at which point it becomes clear I'm no puritan.

When I was gestating my children, no stranger ever touched my stomach. I've heard many stories about such liberties being taken with pregnant women, but I never had to worry about it. Nobody whose name or face was unrecognizable to me would dare mention my condition, let alone feel around for it. It's like I wear a big sign flickering "UNAPPROACHABLE" in neon letters.

I belong to a mom's group where many of the members are transplants. Some are from the midwest, some from the west, others from further north. They are all very nice and quick to make friends so that, before long, it seems like they've always been here. That's well and good for them, but when they end up with all kinds of fun plans with all kinds of different people and I'm sitting at home with the family members who have no choice but to put up with me, it leaves me lamenting my roots and my subconscious determination not to weed them.

It's very hard for me to foster new friendships. I don't dig into people's pasts or predilections because I don't want to pry. I don't like asking for favors and thus it doesn't occur to me to offer them. I generally won't censor myself. I hate talking on the phone. All this comes together in an uneasy hospitality. I host play dates and visits from acquaintances, but it's usually only the friends I've had a long time who end up staying.

I don't know if I could change if I tried. I don't know where to start trying. How I've accumulated any friends at all is a mystery to me.

Some of the newest members to my mom's group are from England. They're supposed to be pretty reserved, right? Like, across the pond is where this region's particular brand of stuffiness was born. Maybe their True Englander status will be a good match to my New Englander status.

Although, if they really are like me, we'll never get to know each other well enough to find out.


Whirlwind said...

Aww come on, your not that bad. We liked you! You should come up and check out the new playground - it's finally built and the girls love it!

Life As I Know It said...

Oh my gosh, you just described me! Although I spent most of my childhood in NJ, my parents are Mainers as is the rest of my family. We are definitely the New England stoic types...hmmm, maybe we should hang out?!?

Jen said...

I don't think you are unapproachable at all. But I think you described me. :)
We need a GTG soon.

iheartchocolate said...

Yeah, you coulda written this post for ME. It's funny, I hear a lot of bloggers describe themselves this way. Social misfits, I am definately one of them. Always have been. The very fact that we blog must mean there's a deep desire for some connection out there, with someone.
I relate way to much to this post. Only My social anxiety would keep me from ever making it to a mom group. *sigh*

margalit said...

I don't see you as cold... more like shy and reserved. I think you are perfectly pleasant. So many women bloggers are of the same ilk. I don't make friends easily and although I appear to be an extrovert, I'm as introverted as they come.

So don't be so hard on yourself. You're just like the rest of us... wanting to belong but unsure of how to join in.

duff said...

this makes me giggle because I find you very approachable. I'm trying to figure out whether it's because we're cut from the same cloth or because I'm not reading your vibe and have just steamrolled into you?

I certainly hope it's the former, or another option completely.

Faith said...

You know, that's a great way to describe myself as well. Maybe it has to do with the water here in New England! I never had the courage (or inclination) to join a mommy's group - I developed a friendship with another new mom at church and that was it.
I can still count the number of friends I have on one hand.