Monday, November 5, 2012

The Welcome Mat is Dead

This move has definitely been a strange one.

I posed a question to Inklings' facebook fans yesterday to get some opinions. I got back some really great answers, but to be honest, they weren't what I expected. Then I realized that I didn't quite explain it right. So that just makes a perfect blog post.

The scenario I posted yesterday involved how The Ginger had made friends with the little boy next door and wanted him to come inside to play, but the little boy's mother said he couldn't come inside until she had met me. So The Ginger kept coming inside and asking me to go out there and meet her, and I was dragging my feet about it because in my opinion, she should have been coming over to meet me, not me going over there.

Petty, I know, but this post will clear up what was going on in my head.

Most of the replies that came through were of the mindset that I needed to take one for the team and go over to her house because it was for my little boy.

Y'all know I love you, Inklingers, but that was honestly the opposite of what I thought the majority would say. I seriously thought most people would be standing beside me, arms crossed, saying, 'She needs to get over here and meet me.' Even Hubby had my side, but was still pushing me out the door for The Ginger's sake.

I grew up in the South. I'm not sure if it's Southern Hospitality or the fact that most southerners are curious as hell and love to gossip, but every move Hubby and I have ever made, our neighbors came and welcomed us to the neighborhood. Our first base in North Carolina over 10 years ago, we were greeted by the next door neighbor with lasagna while we were moving in because she said we shouldn't have to cook our first night in a new house. When we moved on base in South Carolina, people would approach us on the sidewalk,
introduce themselves, tell us where they lived, and let us know if we needed anything to just ask. Then, when we bought a house off base in South Carolina, every single neighbor we had introduced themselves and 2 of them brought us housewarming baskets- one with cookies, one with muffins and basics for the house.

This move to on base? Nothing. I was waved at by the neighbor across the street one day, and the next door neighbor (other side, not the one in question above) husband introduced himself to Hubby while they both happened to be outside, but that's it. We've lived here almost a week now, and I haven't been approached by anyone.

Needless to say, I'm a little confused. First, military wives love to gossip, so they aren't even curious about the woman with bright red hair, covered in tattoos, driving a bright yellow car with zombie stickers on the back? Or is what I experienced in the South just not happen outside of the South? Do people just not care anymore, or is it more that they have respect enough to wait until we are all moved in before they introduce themselves? Seriously, my mind is blown right now.

So, topic on hand, did I expect the woman from next door to greet us with a basket of cookies? Honestly, no. But, did I expect her to come over and introduce herself to me, instead of me going over there? Yes, I did, for 2 reasons:

  1. We were moving in. We should have been (even minutely) welcomed to the neighborhood. I'm not the woman who is going to go around shoving myself down people's throats- especially military wives. They have their friends, and very rarely do they stray from those friends. Not to mention, I don't want to be labeled as the New Needy Neighbor.
  2. It was her rule that needing enforcing. We have the exact same rule, and if The Ginger kept asking me if he could go into someone else's house, I would march my happy big ass over to that house and introduce myself. If nothing else, to see the conditions of the house my kid wants to go play in. If it looks like the Garbage Pail Kids live there, then The Ginger and his friend are more than welcome to come play in my house.
I always say it, and I'll say it again: I have bright red hair, covered in tattoos and drive a bright yellow car with zombie stickers on the back. Yes, all of these things reflect my personality perfectly, but if we're going to be honest here, then yes, I also use these things as a huge defense mechanism. I am a people person, but I really am not a people person at the same time. I can carry on amazing small talk in a work setting or with people, but I can't stand it. So, I use my looks as a barrier to weed out the negative judging people. If my hair and my tattoos have you thinking you know the type of person I am, then we don't need to go past the small talk. If my looks intrigue you, then we'll graduate from small talk to coffee talk, which is a little more in depth. If we click it's because we have personalities that mesh well, and you took the time to see past my strange exterior to see who I truly am. This is yet another reason why I don't go around introducing myself to people. My look has actually offended people in the past, so I'm not going to make anyone uneasy around me. If you want to approach me, then approach me. 

So if the women in this neighborhood aren't going to approach me, then I guess I won't have any friends on this street. It really is that simple in my mind. And, I'm fine with this. Eventually things fall into place as they should. Hell, one friend I have here I met through tattooing her, so she definitely doesn't judge me by my tattoos (okay, maybe the Happy Bunny one on my ass I just showed her the other day... nevermind, she laughed about that one), and the other friend I have used to shop at my store in South Carolina over 5 years ago. We were thrown back together, so we both happily accepted that. And honestly, that's it for locally. I have 2 friends, and I'm perfectly fine with that.

istock photo
In the end, I went over to the neighbor's house and introduced myself yesterday. She seems perfectly fine, but has her clique of friends that I see come over each day and sit and drink coffee outside. Until they come over and invite me for a cup, then I'll continue polite conversation with her for the sake of my son and that's it. 

Reading this post over, I really do seem like a bitch, don't I? Oh, well. Truly I am, and it doesn't bother me. If it bothers other people, then it's probably best that we don't prick our fingers and become blood sisters, or even exchange phone numbers. Then I won't have the overwhelming urge to tell you what I really think about you when I've had too much wine one night.

Not that I'd ever do that... noooooo... not me.....

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  1. Garbage Pail Kids, ha! I can commiserate with you on this as a military wife - who wants to make new friends, as we get older? It does suck, because some people just aren't friendly, but it takes meeting them that first time to figure it out. We just had a new family move in next door - we live off-post - and about their second day, we went over and chatted on their porch, and they endd up being really nice. We have had not-so-great experiences, though, with others, who seem to not want to be neighborly. I only have a couple of really good friends here, and we've been here 6 years. I am dreading having to go to the next place.

    1. If a new person intrigued me, I'd go up and introduce myself, but not *as* the new person, lol. Good to know there's other military wives out there like me! =)

  2. I'm on your side! We moved into a new house in a new town a little over 4 months ago. I have not met a single neighbor. I was not expecting welcome baskets or casseroles (although it would have been nice lol) but I don't think a "Hi I'm ___, welcome to the neighborhood" in passing is too much to ask. But they all just ignore us. And I know I could go introduce myself, and probably should have months ago, but the way I see it we are the new ones here, and it shouldn't really be up to me to go meet these people. Does that make me a bitch? Probably, so you and I can be bitches together. :)

    1. That's how I see it. Other people need to introduce themselves, say, 'Hey, don't eat at such-and-such restaurant because of rats, definitely try the little bakery on the corner'-whatever, lol.

  3. Love your blog! If my kid wants to play somewhere I don't know the parents I bring him there myself to meet them. I think you are so right!

  4. Dude, I gotta say, I'm with you on this one. I'm proud of you for going over and meeting her, but I would have definitely been butt hurt about her requiring you to come over and introduce yourself (as if her legs don't fucking work).

    I live in northern Nevada, and I have a neighbor that is from Texas. She has told me a few times how depressed she is here because everyone is so anti-social. We don't know our neighbors. We don't have block parties, or pick each other's kids to school. We live next to each other because our housees happened to be on the same street, and that's it.

    So I don't know dude, cultural change I guess? It's hard to believe that we all live in the same country but can be so different from coast to coast.

    1. I think it's a growing antisocial trend. People don't want to get to know other people. It's sad, really.