Match Dot Mom

8 Mar

I have reached a truly pathetic stage in my life. I have so little contact with adult females I like that I almost consider the mail carrier a friend. She’s about my age, she’s sassy, she remembers things about me that we talked about months ago and she makes me laugh. Friend, right? Forget the fact that I’ve never seen the entire lower half of her body. I don’t have time to see her outside of her little white truck anyway.

When we moved to Naperville, our primary motives were good schools and a population that wouldn’t make our daughter feel like the speckled chicken in a farmyard full of Rhode Island Whites. While Oak Park prides itself on its diversity, it’s a reputation earned years ago by fighting white flight. I realize that Naperville is one of the places white people from Oak Park flew to, but it’s since become a destination location for people from around the world.

Of course, I had concerns moving here. In particular, I was worried about my son. The entire first year we lived here, he had no friends. The next year, he had one friend. Finally, in year three, he found his tribe and he’s been Mr. Popularity If You Like Outrageous And Obscene Humor. And really, who doesn’t?

My daughter was only two or three but she didn’t miss a friend-making beat. Within a year, she had friends at preschool and friends on the block. Within two years, she’d solidified BFF status with the girl who lives across our backyard. Obviously, the child doesn’t live in the yard, but what do you call the people who live in the house that abuts your backyard?

I never even thought about my husband and friends. He made some friends about forty years ago and is content to never again go through the agony of finding new ones. He never sees them; he’s fine with that.

I, on the other hand, like friends. I had friends and family in Oak Park. (Ok, my sister technically lives in River Forest, but I think of River Forest as a subdivision of Oak Park.) My Oak Park friends and family worried about me making friends. I didn’t. I should have.

It’s not that Napervidlians aren’t friendly. I’ve found plenty of friendly people. It’s not that there aren’t PLUs (People Like Us) here. There are lots of people like us. The problem is that the place is so darn big that actually meeting friendly people who are like us is a job.

I tried church. It worked in Oak Park, so I figured it would work here. So I went to church. I joined the choir. At the first choir rehearsal, I sat next to a friendly alto my age. “Hm ,” I thought, “potential friend material.” She noted that I was reading a fantasy novel during break. She talked about her most recent visit to Comic Con, where she dressed as a particular Star Trek alien and snagged autographs from her favorite science fiction writers. She invited me to join her next time. I never went back. So, not only was I out a friend, I was out a church, too.

I tried the PTA. Think fundraisers and petty fiefdoms. Think poking sharp sticks in your eyes.

I finally made some really good friends when I went to grad school. It’s hard to spend two years with a group of people discussing educational philosophy and bitching about crappy professors without forming some really satisfying friendships. And, get this: we were the cool kids! I’ve never been a cool kid before. We were even the mean girls for a while. It was a gas!

Grad school came to an end and we’ve stayed in touch. Though I’ve failed to find a full-time teaching job, I did meet people I’ll consider friends for life. And it only cost $30,000! Now, if we could just get together more than once or twice a year.

For now, I’m pulling back from the friend hunt. My plate is pretty full anyway. When I’m ready, I could start really local. BFF’s mom is pretty cool and the awesomest neighbor ever. But I’m afraid it’s sort of like having a really good male friend. Take it to the next level and it could be great. Or you could lose a really good friend. I’m not ready to lose the awesomest neighbor ever.

Come summer, I might take a chance and have her over for a margarita in the gazebo. We’ll see. Until then, you’ll find me peeking through the curtains Monday through Saturday, on the lookout for a little white truck.

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20 Responses to “Match Dot Mom”

  1. justafangirl March 8, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    Let me know when there’s a cheap place to rent down the street from you and I’ll be there. I’m not sure I can take going back to Indiana, although my family wants me to once I’m done with school. And you know I can pitch a b*tch with the best of them!!

    • jmlindy422 March 9, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      Everything is cheap-ish in Naperville now! Our house is worth $35,000 less than it was. I’ll keep an eye out for rentals. It would be so awesome to have your family right here!

  2. keynoncoaching March 9, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Have to laugh at the image you paint of your friendship with the mail carrier! For a while several years ago, I had the same thoughts about my pharmacy’s assistant! After my son’s car accident, I made so many trips to the pharmacy that she would see me coming and go grab my filled script without having to ask for a name (and this is not a ‘small town’ pharmacy). How sad is it that as women we have such a hard time connecting to other, like minded women? I think about starting a ‘girlfriend group’, but who to invite???? I am sure that I could enjoy a cup of coffee with someone like yourself! Keep posting, friend!!

    • jmlindy422 March 9, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      We were on such friendly terms with our pharmacist that when he went to work at Walmart, we were upset! We’ve since become friendly with the new one. My old pharmacist appears in one of my posts, titled “I See London.”

  3. Mad Queen Linda March 9, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    I’m seeing more of this type of entry currently, probably because I’m in a similar situation. I moved from an enormous city to a rural neighborhood outside a small town across the country. I see no one at my job all day, and it took approximately two years to make any friends. I went ballistic over one of those “where to retire” articles in the Wall Street Journal and gave them my best knife-edged rebuke in writing, i.e. “it’s about WHO, not WHERE.” They invited me to submit my story, but then wanted me to get my 3600 word version down to 1000. I’m too busy trying to keep my sanity and my marriage together to say anything meaningful in that word count.

    • jmlindy422 March 9, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      Wow. I write about 1,000 in my posts. Feels like a lot of words to me sometimes and next to none at others. I gave up on the sanity thing a while ago. The marriage thing? That’s the toughest thing I’ve ever done. We’ve managed to get to 20 years, but some of them have been damned unpleasant. Others have been great.

  4. The Waiting March 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    My husband is the same way; most of his really good friends are from 100 years ago and he really doesn’t see a need to make a bunch of new ones. Not that we’d really be able to even if we wanted to. Living in a small town severely limits the friend pool. That’s why I like blogging. I seem to form more edifying “relationships” from blogging than I would if I joined a bunch of local organizations.

    • jmlindy422 March 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      I have made so many good, good friends on the Internet. I just wish I could take all of them out for really good Mexican and margaritas. I don’t live too far from Frontera, people!

      • The Waiting March 9, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

        The one time we went there, Rick Bayless was actually there in the kitchen. So cool!

    • Mad Queen Linda March 12, 2012 at 11:10 am #

      Snide, in no way do I mean to hijack your blog entry, but I have something of a fascination with this subject. Waiting, do you think it is the small town limiting the friend pool? It certainly has seemed that way to me but I still keep sticking my arm in the hair shirt of “it must be me.”

  5. Rayme Wells @ A Clean Surface March 11, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    After moving, I realized nothing much has changed. I rarely saw my friends when we were in the same area, and I now I never see them. It isn’t much different. (Thank goodness for the internet, though.) My new coworkers are my “friends” now because I see them so often, but I don’t expect to socialize with them.

    • Rayme Wells @ A Clean Surface March 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      I should note that I wouldn’t mind socializing with the coworkers, I just don’t expect it.

      • jmlindy422 March 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

        Fraternizing with co-workers is one of those things that sounds really good, but….. I am still friends with only one or two people I’ve worked with in the past and only because of Facebook. It’s good to have those relationships in our lives, but they aren’t a substitute for a deep friendship.

  6. Rebecca Latson Photography March 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I dunno, that potential friend you met in church who likes sci fi sounds pretty cool to me, but I like that kind of stuff. Otherwise, I’m like your husband – I have friends who live great distances from me – we never see each other and that’s just fine with me. Just call me the old goat woman from the story “Cold Mountain”.

  7. sukanya March 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I am totally your hubby in this case. no inclinication to make new friends. I am happy with the ones I have though I wish I’d meet them often

  8. Trick Brown March 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    Wow! To be out seeking friends and give up on a friendly person because they enjoyed Sci-fi. That’s cold.

    They might have had other interests and qualities making them worthwhile to know. :p

    • jmlindy422 March 14, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      Well, there is a bit of poetic license here.

      I think it was the dressing up as a character bit that turned me off. Besides, I’m a fantasy reader (vampires, werewolves, witches and other magical creatures). The only sci fi I’ve read that I really enjoyed was “Ender’s Game,” which is a fabulous book no matter what genre.

      I know she had other qualities that make her an interesting person. Again, a little poetic license.

      • Trick Brown March 14, 2012 at 10:05 am #

        I was just ribbing. The line made me laugh. 🙂

      • jmlindy422 March 14, 2012 at 10:15 am #

        Kinda figured you were ribbing. You seem to write the kind of stuff I like to read. Are you familiar with Jim Butcher’s “Codex Alera” and “Sing The Four Quarters” (or something like that) by Tanya Huff? Loved those books.

      • Trick Brown March 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

        Embarrassingly enough, I’ve had all the Codex Alera books waiting in my to be read pile for some time. I think I look at them as “one object” and keeps getting pushed back.

        I have heard of Tanya Huff, but haven’t checked out any of her stuff as yet. I need to get something of hers in the pile as well.

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