Monday, December 05, 2005

Scaring the Neighbors

You know the old Kool-Aid commercials where the neighborhood kids came running from all over - and it looked like they really came from all over? I mean, that was the most integrated, diverse neighborhood ever! My neighborhood is not like that. I wish it were. But it's a little uptight and a lot the color that rhymes with that.

We haven't met many of our new neighbors. I once lived in DC in the same apartment building for years and never even met one of my neighbors until there was a small fire forcing us all outside at the same time. Naturally the fire occured the week before I was moving back down South and I left all of my newfound friends behind. But that was an apartment and it was DC. I assumed when you were a real grown up, moving into a real house, in a real (if homogenous) neighborhood in your hometown - that meeting the neighbors was a cinch. Oh silly girl!

The trouble is, I think we scared 'em the day we moved in. Sweet Hubby is handsome and normal looking and wears glasses and a geek. And when I say geek, I mean it. I score a 42.80079% on the Inner Geek Test which qualifies me as a Major Geek but Sweet Hubby ranks well above Geek Godhood. He works in IT, he is the DM for an RPG every week, he's been in the SCA, he beta tests software (for fun in his spare time - not just for work), etc. His (our) friends are a lot like him (us) - except that for the most part they are, how should I say it...overwhelming in the looks department.
Especially when they're all together. In one place. Like our driveway.
Especially when they're in motion and moving big, heavy objects with the assistance of several "engineered" contraptions or without assistance (like Grant who can (and did) carry our living room couch under one arm).
Especially when they all bring their children to play with our children "to keep them entertained". (I think at one point there were 14 who were 14 or younger.)
I'm only guessing, but I would have to say that the number of tattoos and piercings present in our neighborhood the day we moved hit an all time record high.

Don't get me wrong, individually, each of us navigates the mainstream quite well, thank you very much. But even I have to admit, that it probably looked as if the circus were moving in next door. The few tenative waves we got on Moving Day were reflexive and we haven't actually seen those folks again. I am a pretty big chicken when it comes to walking up to a total stranger and saying hi. I figured though, that it might be my best approach. I gave the neighbors a week or so to notice that all of the folks who helped us move in weren't actually staying around. Then I gathered up my courage and went door to door to the houses closest to us. No one was home. I tried going at different times of day. Still no joy. I actually saw my very next door neighbors (on one side) twice, but they went inside and then didn't answer the door. That was it for my bravery.

Even so, we have finally managed to meet a few folks. The neighbors directly next door (on the other side) are delightful and have children in school and scouts with ours. It's amazing what natural icebreakers children (and new puppies) are. The other neighbors we have gotten to know, we've met entirely because of puppies or children (ours or theirs) who scamper across boundaries. And you know what? Even though the neighborhood looked to be relatively tame and uninteresting, the people we've met are real and imperfect and pleasant to chat with - and one even tells very funny stories.

I've been thinking about all this 'how-to-meet-the-neighbors' stuff because last week I moved into the blogosphere (if I've got the terminology right.) It was a quiet little move. It's probably possible to scare the neighbors in the blogging world but I have no idea how one would do that so I'm pretty sure I haven't done it this time around. I've been lurking and I have to tell you that this new neighborhood is fascinating!!! Filled with quilters and writers and musicians and parents and activists and...
It's terrific.

But I don't know how to meet people. Everyone already seems to know each other (which sounds exactly like one of my children whining on the first day in the new school.) In this new world, I don't have the equivalent of dogs or children, so what's a gal to do?
What I did was...nothing. That's what I did. I did nothing. Well - I lurked. And I fixed up my spot to look like the ones I admire (as best I could figure out how). And THEN out of the blue, rudecactus (whose site I admire bery, bery much - in fact I'd like my blog to be just like his when it grows up) he posted a comment on my blog. I was thrilled - and um, a teeny bit scared because I had no idea how he even knew about my little spot. (After giving the matter some thought, I'm guessing real bloggers know how to use all the functions of their blogging tools - and somewhere there's a statistic that showed him I listed his site in my sidebar as one of my faves.)

His comment gave me great courage. (An interesting stranger said hi just 'cause. How cool is that?!) I went right out and posted a comment of my own somewhere else. Yay!
And then I took a step further out into the neighborhood and actually emailed instead of posting because a) she had a 'contact me' line and 2) I didn't really have a relevant comment but I very much wanted to say hi. And guess what? She dropped by and said hi back!
Thank you DebR and rudecactus for having such lovely sites to begin with and for welcoming me to the neighborhood. I think I'll stay.


Deb R said...

I had to go take the Inner Geek Test and was sorely disappointed to score mere "Total Geek" at only 28.6%. I need to buy some comic books or learn a new computer language or something.


Steve Huff said...

So... you're saying that scaring the neighbors is a bad thing?

*scratches head, re-thinks entire life...*

Donna said...

I had to take the Geek test too - I was so excited as I checked box after box - I mean my hand got tired - and then I only got like 25% geek - sad.

I need more computer games in my life.

Sweet Hubby said...

Two points:

Donna, I'm very worried that your hand got tired. What exactly were you doing to this test?

I scored a mere 84.02367% on the Geek test! Vile disparagement! I even took it twice to be sure.

Donna said...

you are truly a geek sweet hubby!!!

And, I will not tell you what I was doing with my hand - I'll leave it to your imagination! :D