Clancy and I took a trip to Alexandria last week for some health care related issues. Her coworker, Sharon Alvarez, and her husband Jack, were in California taking care of their injured (adult) kid and couldn’t sit the dog. Fortunately, I knew of another neighbor, Buck Branson, who was able to check in and let Lisby out during the day and back in at night. After we got back, Buck stopped by to return the key with cigarette in hand. That latter part is a bit of an issue because we have an enclosed sun-room and the smell lingered throughout the house for a while. Buck has seen me outside smoking and probably thought it was a non-issue. Given the smell of the Branson house (smoke+pets) he has simply lost his sense of smell. Or possibly, it’s that he is of a different generation and has not updated his social convention.
That last one wouldn’t surprise me as a key component. It’s not just that he’s elderly, but he’s rather old school. A right-wing former marine with a door mat espousing his patriotism and contempt for anyone that doesn’t share it. Until recently he was a city councilman and a strong supporter of a far-right candidate for the state house in the last election. But he’s not a bad guy. Very friendly towards me. Even friendly to the guy who lives in the house between us, a gay fellow with alternating colors of dyed hair and ear rings. But he has his people, and if he knew more about me he would probably know that I, like our mutual neighbor, am not really one of them.
Which seems to be how it goes in Callie. I’ve met some pretty great people out here. I’ve met very few rude people. There’s very little to be concerned about. It’s really not a question of whether or not the people here are nice. They are. And I don’t care about the junk in the front yards as such. But they’re emblematic of a background that I was raised apart from. They’re nice, but we’re not their people. They seem to be people that have been in Arapaho for generations. Or people that specifically moved to Callie for things that don’t interest me all that much, like this whole “outdoors” business.
A year has passed since we’ve moved to Callie and I’ve been trying to think of ways to meet people with whom this problem does not exist. Perhaps if we relocate within town (Callie actually has a lot of college grads as a portion of the population) we’ll have neighbors we are more in sync with. I’m still thinking that they exist, if I could only find them. As it stands, I feel like we’re on the losing side of homogeny.
I was counting on the bowling alley. Really counting on it. I didn’t realize how much I was counting on it until I found it out closed about six months before we got here. I was thinking, join a bowling league, get randomly assigned, meet some people. Easy enough! If only there were a bowling alley.
I’ve thought about going to church again. I actually mean to. But Sundays come and go and I end up sleeping in. I am also a bit anxious about joining a church and not liking it there. It’s a small enough town that I would be seeing many perishoners around town, wondering why I haven’t been coming to church lately. I feel like it’s just as well that we sold the car that had the Episcopal shield on it, because I was afraid that I might get recruited.
I thought about Toastmasters once, and even drove to the bank where they hold their meetings, but they didn’t have it that week. I went to a couple of high school football games last year. Had fun, but it was more something to do rather than a social event.
It could be that my social network will end up in Redstone. There are more people and, I would think, clubs that can be joined. Or… something. Redstone is pretty similar, though, that the people that live there are from there. They’re the people that couldn’t leave there, even. Almost everybody our age is married and has kids. And though I’m married, Clancy doesn’t really have time to do couple’s things. And since I’m married, there are a lot of single young male things that I can’t do. And others that I won’t do because I’m not 20 anymore in any event.
It seems increasingly unlikely that we’re going to be staying in Callie. Partially for all of the reasons above, but also due to the job demanding more of Clancy than she’s going to want to be giving once there are kids in the picture.
Of course, the kids might change everything. Social isolation no matter where we are, so less in the way of opportunity costs. Or actually improvement, by being a family in such a family-oriented place. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing since the town is safe and the schools are good. It’s a good community, if we can manage to find our place within it.