I have moved approximately ninety million times. I have attended fourteen different schools in my endeavours towards scholastic brilliance. I moved 21 different times in Anchorage, Alaska, each one a new neighborhood, new children, new people. Alaska is just one of the many states I’ve lived in. I am very used to new people.
So why is it that all of a sudden, the prospect of being around new people has me in such a dither?
Lance, the girls and I are attending a new church. We decided to also join a small group. This small group consists of seven couples who meet every Thursday night at one of the homes and we eat, watch a video, do a group discussion and then we break up into two groups -men and women and we pray talk. We’ve been three times now.
The first time, I got there 20 minutes before Lance did. I sat there, one half of a pair and chatted about myself, my kids, my hometown. Thank God I grew up in Alaska, always a source of interesting chat-fodder. Then Lance walked through the door and I could breathe as I wasn’t the only “fresh meat”.
The second time, I decided to start busting out with my own vernacular, my arsenal of quips and colloquials that make up my vocabulary. In our “prayer” time, I asked if anyone was a knitter. I got a round of nos and I tried to explain by saying that I was a “knitting tard” and needed some lessons.
Silence. Lots of blinking. I swear I could hear their brains eat my phrase. Did she just say TARD? Hmmm.
Then in an effort to be a part of the goings on with the other ladies, I addressed a very pregnant and ready to deliver any day lady by pointing at her crotch and saying “I don’t want to be all up in your biz, but is anything going on down there?” (Translation, are you dilated?)
Sigh. What has happened to me? Is this what happens to old people? I’ve had conversations with older people that forget how to talk to new people. They just sort of randomly list ailments, the price of their latest hearing aid and the fact that they’ve had constipation for the last week and the cost of broccoli has their pocketbooks empty. They’re just weird. And suddenly, I can totally relate. I’m faced with new people, I freeze on saying calm, cool and sophisticated things and bust out with potentially offensive things like “tard” and pointing at the nether regions on a pregnant lady. (To be fair, it’s going to be all about those nether regions in a couple of weeks, but still.)
Tonight I’m heading to a baby shower for that particular lady. It’s kind of strange going to a baby shower for someone you’ve only known three weeks, but isn’t that the polite thing to do? I knew she was registered at Babies ‘R Us, so yesterday I walked in, headed over to the Registry kiosk, and suddenly realized I didn’t know her last name. I approached the girl sitting at the registry desk, reading a People magazine and said, “Umm, I need to find a registry for a lady but I only know her first name.”
Bored barely out of adolescence lady: “You don’t know her last name?”
Me, shrugging sheepishly: “Nope. I do know she’s having a girl.”
Young girl: “Sigh. Ok, do you know where she lives?”
Young girl: “Ok, where in Alabama?”
Me: “This town, or one nearby?”
Young girl: type type type, sigh, type type type, click click, sigh again, print
I took one look at the registry and opted for a safe bet- a stuffed animal I found on sale for $4.00. I went home and made a brown hooded towel with a pink and white ribbon. I feel this is sufficient for a lady whose last name I don’t even know.
My only fear is, what nonsense will come out of my mouth tonight as we meet at a local sushi restaurant? Be afraid, ladies. I have forgotten how to communicate with you.