During the week I try to go out at least once a day. I go for walks (even though I don’t like walking, it helps Henry sleep), I go to the shops, I go to playgroup. I try to engage people in conversation as much as I hate making the first step to small talk. All my efforts have been fruitless and I spend more time repeating what I’ve just said or asking them to repeat something – which isn’t prudent for good conversation. I just recently discovered this article, only to realize that I have been guilty of every single one of the points listed. Seriously, who doesn’t introduce themselves right away? It’s not like I’m going to enforce a mandatory Christmas card exchange if I know your first name for fuck’s sake.
Anyhow, there’s this language barrier thing going on as well. It’s more of an accent barrier really. I spent a miserable two hours at the hair salon on Monday being dutifully ignored conversation wise starting with my request for water.
“Would you like some coffee or tea?”
“I’ll just have water, thanks.”
(more blank stares)
“Oh! Water. Sure, I’ll get one for you.”
As most of you realize, in the American accent ‘water’ is actually pronounced ‘wadder’. Don’t believe me? Say really fast, “Do you have water” and tell me if there’s a ‘T’ anywhere in what you just said. The English, of course, say ‘water’ with the ‘T’ firmly in place and as much as I try REALLY FUCKING HARD to say ‘water’ and not ‘wadder’, it always slips out. So I get blank stares until the person surmises that I’m an idiot who doesn’t realize there’s a ‘T’ in the word and refuses to talk to me further. By the way, you’d be surprised how often ‘water’ comes in basic conversation.
Andy and I joined the tennis club in our area. No, we don’t play tennis. We joined as auxiliary members to drink at their bar and make friends on our days off (the days where Andy’s mum baby-sits). We were there on Saturday hanging out, trying to chat with anyone who would let us. I noticed that they had a sign asking for volunteers so I asked the woman in charge if they still needed volunteers and if so, I’d be more than willing. Now, this is for volunteering. There is no pay in volunteering. YET, I still had this exchange:
“Well, it’s for bartending shifts.”
“Perfect! I used to bartend – for many years in fact.”
“Well, it would be week nights probably – maybe some weekends.”
“That’s no problem. I don’t work so I’m always free.”
“It would be late nights.”
“That wouldn’t be an issue for me.”
“Like REALLY late nights”
“That’s fine, really.”
“Alright, well…give me your name and number and I’ll call you if something comes up.”
I gave the woman my name and number and she wrote it down on a piece of paper. But she then left that piece of paper sitting in front of me the entire time we were there. I reminded her when we left that it was still there which I think was her cue that it was finally safe for her to chuck my number in the bin.
Seriously people, I’m trying. I’m moaning about this as I’ve never gone this long in a new place without meeting new friends. It’s frustrating and depressing. I know Andy means well but he telling me that “at least Henry and I like you” doesn’t actually help. Andy and Henry are REQUIRED to like me. If they don’t like me, I’m going to cut off their monthly cash deposits.
I’m not going to give up though (it’s not the American way!). Tomorrow I’m going to meet up with some local mums that are having a ‘Meet Up’ from netmums. We’re meeting in a park. I’m sure there will be walking.
*If you watch ‘Modern Family’ there was an episode where Haley says, “If you do this, you’ll be a social piranha.” Alex replies, “Yes, I’ll be an Amazonian carnivorous fish.” Andy wondered why I didn’t laugh at the time as it’s a pretty good joke. Just to nail home the ‘I’m an idiot’ factor, I had always thought ‘piraya’ was another word for ‘piranha’. I mean, I wouldn’t want to hang around a piranha, especially since they would eat me. It made sense. I’ve since been corrected.
Me, with my new red contact lenses in. Do you like them?