Thursday, May 22, 2008

From Away

Can someone please tell me what exactly I need to do to have the people in this stupid town include me and my children? Please? I'm relatively sure they aren't doing these things intentionally, but man I'm getting pissed off.

It started with play school, do you remember that? I went to the meeting, told them about Mary, gave them my phone number and said that I would be bringing Mary the very next class. I showed up, and no one was there, I showed up the next class, no one was there. It turned out that the teacher was ill and they forgot to phone me. She was very sick and they weren't sure when she would be back, so I asked them to call me when she was so I could take Mary. Months later I ran into one of the ladies and she mentioned how they were all sorry I decided not to bring Mary to preschool. Excuse me? So I asked, surprised, if the teacher was well. Oh yeah, she had started back less than a week after I had spoken to the mother in charge of everything, and no one bothered to phone me. I was annoyed.

Two, maybe three weeks ago, I called the contact about soccer, I wanted to get Mary involved. The woman I spoke too said that they weren't sure that they would even be having soccer this year, they didn't have enough people willing to help out. I said I would be happy to help out if they needed me. The woman took my number and said that I should expect a call. I asked her to call me even if they didn't need my help and soccer was going to happen. She promised to pass my name and number along to the phone person, but if I didn't get a call that meant that soccer wouldn't be happening this spring. I didn't get a call so I assumed that they didn't have enough helpers and that it wasn't going to happen. Then, today, I go to the Co-op to pick up some milk and there is a sign that soccer is starting on the 21st (last night!). The sign wasn't up on Saturday when I was there last, and not a soul called me.

What the hell?? Is it because I am From Away? Most people have been friendly, if not terribly welcoming, but seriously. All I want is for my child to get involved in things around here, to be able to play soccer, go to play school, make some friends, I don't particularly care if they include me or not. That's a lie, I would like to have some friends, to be able to get out of the house without forcing myself on people, but that seems more and more unlikely as time passes. The play helped a bit, but I've not socialized with anyone from the play since it ended, aside from saying hello when we bump into each other in the street. I'm lonely, and Mary is lonely, and I don't know what to do to make it better.

I knew moving to a small town would be tough, but I had no idea that people would be this...well...unfriendly.


Goody said...

If it were actual shunning, you'd know it.

Small towns are flaky, ideas people have about schedules and other things city people take as polite don't get priority. It's strange, I'll be at the bank or the gas station and someone will mention "so and so this" and then seem shocked that I didn't know. How the hell would I know? Telepathy?

There's a small town (a slightly larger small town than ours ha ha)down the road and I swear, going there on a Sunday morning to pick up groceries when all the locals are shopping as families is like being trapped in a freaking Mike Leigh movie-with Midwestern accents. I wouldn't even try to break through that wall into being accepted. I know when the time comes, Danny's activities will be a sixty mile haul into Omaha.

On the other hand, I don't have the insane neighbours I had in Boston that locked their drunken mother out on the back porch one night as she sang (loudly) "Old MacDonald Had A Farm" until the wee hours when they let her back in.

Country/City either way you deal with people that suck. In your case it will probably get easier once the girls are in primary school. If not, you'll have six hours or so to flee to Regina each day ;)

You probably shouldn't take advice from me because I pretty much hate everyone.

Stephanie said...

Having grown up in a small town, I can very much understand how you feel. My Mom went through that for YEARS! I think the only thing that helped her was that my Dad joined the Kinsmen and began coaching PeeWee hockey and she started sewing costumes for all the skating shows. But that was after about 4 years of not feeling welcome.

I would say that they probably aren't ACTIVELY shunning you, it's just that since you haven't been part of things for years, no one thinks to include you. I guess if you want to be included, keep trying to get involved. It might help if Ian also got involved in things as well, show a strong family front and all that crap.

Don't forget, you can join things after the fact, contact the soccer coach and see if they can put Mary on the team. Keep pushing, if only for the girls benefit.

Anonymous said...

I never lived in a very small town, but I lived in a city of about 50,000 for a brief time and it was about the same. Everyone assumed everybody knew everything. It was like, "The Land of No Theory of Mind."

Being on time or keeping to a schedule wasn't to be expected, either. Things started late or early or not at all, and, honestly, a poster saying something started on the 21st might have gone up on the
22nd. No one would think anything of that.

Where I was, the bus stops used to change on the fly, because the city would do construction and not tell anyone (including the bus company, which was private.) The Priority Courier office used to open... whenever.

Picture a city person standing outside Priority Courier at 9:25am, with an important package in hand, and one eye twitching. The sign says they open at 9. Where is everyone? But all you can do is go for coffee and come back. Hell, the person who opens the office might be in Timmy's when you get your coffee.

I know it seems weird that people don't follow up with you and, from a city perspective, as if it *must* be deliberate. But I doubt it is. Annoying though it is to have to go through this over and over again, you just have to keep asking people stuff whenever you see them. If you bump into someone on the street and they have a kid Mary's age... "Hey--do you know when soccer's going to start?" Eventually someone will both know something and tell you. And it will get easier once you get into one or two things, because then you'll be around when people are casually sharing information in person.