Sunday, June 15, 2008


I'm obsessing. Right now I'm obsessing about the neighborhood we've moved into--wondering if we made the wrong choice. I don't actually think we did, but I'm not fully comfortable here yet and it's probably just my loneliness and feeling displaced. It's so white collar here! Every lawn is completely pristine and manicured and I've realized this is not just because everyone is concerned with appearances and spends enormous amounts of energy mowing; it's because everyone spends enormous amounts of money contracting somebody else to do their mowing. Since there's no traffic (our street is only one long block--doesn't go through to anywhere), the noise during the day is the riding mowers and weed wackers and blowers at one house or another. (At least there are no gun shots.) The only other noise comes from screeching kids in back yard pools. How did I end up here? The safety I feel is a great relief. I can leave my door open when I go to the neighbor's. I don't assess every person walking down the street. I leave kids toys in the front without worrying they will disappear. If I leave a sleeping child in the car while I lug in the groceries I don't worry she'll be stolen. The guard I can let down is a cool breeze.

This feeling of awkwardness about the white collarness has something to do with my idea of myself. I don't think I yet think of myself as grown up, and this neighborhood is certainly full of grownups. How do I make friends with them? Do I want to make friends with them? Who are they anyway?

But then, I've met neighbors already, and I like them. Four (four!) of the houses just across the street from us have little kids which will be wonderful for my kids and for me too, won't it? I hope so. I believe so, but then my doubt creeps in and I'm obsessing again. When I told M that the neighborhood felt so white collar he said, "that's what you are." Which is true I suppose.

But this idea of grownupness is all wrong anyway. I am myself, not a grownup or a child, but just me. And my theories about the other folks in this neighborhood are just that--my theories. They are not their projections of themselves, as I don't know them yet. It's all my doing, these labels and judgments. (and what do I think it means to be a grownup anyway?)

Also, I think I've opened all the boxes and I still can't find my camera.

1 comment:

Melusine said...

Hey Cali-just read this post-it cracked me up. I swear sometimes I think we feel so many of the same things. That whole idea of being grown up has haunted me for years. I often wonder where it comes from-but it seems to be quite common. Thinking now of that Anne Sexton poem "The Awful Rowing" and that line..."about nineteen in my head" or something like that. I wonder if almost everybody feels that way, and yet we don't let on and so others don't let on and we all pretend to be grown up -whatever that term means. I was talking to my aunt Margaret the other day. She just turned 90. She said, "I just don't feel 90." I asked her how old she felt and she said "18. I have always felt 18."