Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's Friendlier with Two (or More)

Stepping into a new place alone has always given me a moment or two of dread. Worse yet is the loose-endish feeling of being in a large gathering but not knowing anyone particularly well and not having anyone in particular to hang out with. I have always had to suppress the urge to latch on to some kind-hearted looking soul and claim them for my own for the rest of the event.

Give me one other person I know I can fall back on, though, one person who will be quite happy to include me in whatever they are doing, and I am perfectly at ease. One person skulking in a corner looks like a loser. Two people are no doubt having an engrossing tete-a-tete. Standing at the edge of a circle of conversing strangers looks impertinent; stand at the edge of a circle where you are accompanying one of the conversants and you can be attractively attentive.

Getting married, of course, supplied me with a perpetual friendly person for most events. (Even ladies' events, since I got a mother-in-law with the deal.) But it still left me rather bereft for the ordinary day things: trying out a new store or visiting the library or park.

But now, I have children! Friends who are not only willing, but positively required to stick close by my side as I go in and out and do this and that. Someone to look at things with me; someone to discuss things afterwards. Someone to make me always look like I'm profitably occupied even in a crowd of strangers. (It's amazing how much easier a family reunion of the other side of the family is when you have children.)

Admittedly, their language skills are yet quite limited, and their lack of finesse at using their legs and the toilet makes them more of a burden than a help at this stage. They will improve with time, though, and before too long they will be able to carry things instead of always needing to be carried, and let me know when I'm about to take the wrong exit, and converse in complete sentences. But even now they are Somebodies, and Somebodies are better than Nobody.


Zoanna said...

Thanks for showing me the link to the herb roll recipe.

You have captured the feelings of being at a party where you barely know anyone. I have felt like an outsider sometimes even with people I do know, and so I've become more conscious of those who have an even harder time making conversation than I do. When just one person has taken me under her wing for the duration of a party or gathering, I come away feeling like I've belonged there.

Carrie said...

I'm with you! When I walk into a crowded room I immediately start looking for the other wall flower to cling to for the rest of the event. Marriage definitely has its perks. I can see how kids could be a positive benefit too. Esp. when the potty seat becomes a friend.

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