It’s midafternoon on Sunday. I woke up this morning already feeling like the weekend was over and way too short. But here I am now, bored out of my gourd, just wishing there was something, anything we could do safely. It’s cold and rainy, so even taking a walk outside is out. I packed a few more boxes. I went to a rental open house (which took about 2 minutes). I picked up some lunch.
Now here I am, scrolling, scrolling scrolling through social media. Joining—and then leaving—local community groups. It is incredibly offputting to join a group and find that the first 10 posts are advertisements for the same two or three businesses, over and over. Spammy much? Leave Group. I’ve been trying to figure out how to connect with people here and maybe make a few friends; at least making friends online is easier because by the time you meet in person, if ever, you’ve shared enough to make the conversation less awkward. At least, that’s been my experience with other groups. I tried MeetUp groups, and joined a few, but I don’t want to pop into a Zoom chat as a complete newbie and feel left out by the 3 or 30 other people in the meetup who already know each other and will either 1) be super friendly and engaging and put me on the spot or 2) ignore me completely and make me feel like a fifth wheel. I greatly prefer entering in face-to-face (or Zoom-to-Zoom) interactions with my feet on the ground and some knowledge of what to expect.
The biggest hurdle for me is that I’m a jeans and Diet Coke Jersey girl who swears a lot, doesn’t do wine or coffee, and doesn’t live with her kid. So I have a lot less in common with the women my age around here who all seem to be wine & cheese PTA moms who are living in suburbian bliss and whose schedules are dictated by their kids’ sports/dance/school activities. I don’t have any problem with that being their focus, of course, I just really can’t relate. I don’t have a lot of crazy mom stories about things my son has done or said or experienced. My son is 17 and still prefers to read Green Eggs and Ham and watch Pixar movies on repeat. That’s who he is, and I love him, but it’s hard to find common ground with moms of neurotypical kids. Plus, so many of the women my age have young kids, like elementary school young. My son is in high school. And again, not here with me.
Last year a longtime friend of mine who lives in the area invited me to a gathering at her place (pre-COVID) to do a book exchange with some of her other friends. It was nice, but it was also weird. I got dressed up for a night out, not wanting to feel out of place; I’d seen photos my friend had posted of other social gatherings, and I worried I wouldn’t fit in unless I put some effort in. So I was even more discombobulated when I got there and all the women were in sweats and socks and had just popped over before putting the kids to bed. Instead of being too underdressed, I was overdressed. Fortunately I had the excuse that B and I were going out to a late dinner, which was true, but then I felt odd because everyone else was getting ready to go home and get ready for bed.
When I was a new mom, everyone else was still out partying. Now that I’m past that stage and want to be able to go out with friends and have some fun, I’m the only one who stays awake past 9pm and doesn’t have responsibilities that weigh down her schedule. And then, of course, COVID. Maybe once this is all over, everyone will be so tired of family time and so ready to get out of the house that there will be more opportunity for fun. I just really miss having people to talk to.