It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I’m a fixture

Remember that Sesame Street song? “Who are the people in your neighbourhood?” (Just watched that clip. Goodness, that’s cheesy. Sweet, but cheesy. Is it still part of the show?)

I was walking through our neighbourhood the other day with a woman who doesn’t feel very connected here. She’s lived here a couple of years, but has no friends, she says. She’s quiet, but she has two young children, and that in itself is usually enough to bridge the gap. I’m not sure why this would be the case, but we’re going out for coffee.

I wouldn’t say I’m a friend yet, but I’m open to the idea. I understand what it is to feel disconnected. I have friends, but I’m more introvert than extrovert, so I don’t have an enormous drive to collect friends in great bunches, and, though I’ve broadened the definition over the years, I’m still fairly slow to label a relationship as a friendship. Could this woman ever be a “real” friend, by my admittedly stringent standards? I suspect not, but I like her, she’s lonely, and an hour or two chatting in a coffee shop is a simple, easy way to do a kindness. And who knows? It could end up being a real friendship! So I walk to her house, and from there we walk the few blocks to one of the several coffee shops in range.

Half-block up from her home, a former client stops to chat for a moment. Introductions all round.
A block further on, a fellow from the dog park waves. Introductions all round.
At the next corner, someone stops to ask if I’m the woman who looked after Emily, and then asks if I have spaces, which I don’t. I give her contact info for a different caregiver.
Further down the block, Grace calls from her front porch. Grace’s mother waves. Introductions all round.
A former client is leaving the coffee shop as we enter. Introductions all round.

As we settle into our chairs, my lonely neighbour’s eyes are wide. “You know everyone!”

A funny idea, for me, the friendly enough but not particularly socially inclined ambivert. (Thanks for that term, Carol, for I suspect that’s what I am.) Though in recent years I’ve consciously decided to cultivate more friendships, I don’t need a lot of socializing in my life. I almost never get lonely. I prefer a night at home to a night out.

But, what do you know? I do know people in my neighbourhood. Lots of them. None of the people we met were friends, but I know lots. Even more know me.

They know me because I am one of   ♫♫”the people that you meet, ♫ when you’re walking down the street, ♫ the people that you meet each day.”♫♫♫

I am The Daycare Lady.

You know what?

I kind of like it.

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

I guess they’re born with it

I live in a lovely neighbourhood. Older homes of varying sizes, from small (mine!) to large. There are one or two monster homes, recent (and unfortunate) additions, but for the most part it’s a nice, tasteful mix. Homes have porches, so people sit on them in the evening and chat. There are young families, families with older children, a few retirees. There’s a river nearby, complete with grassy verge and footpath. Though my drive remains car-free, there is a fair smattering of nicer cars, beemers and such, mostly the quiet, understated kind.

And then there are the less understated. Some vintage, some brand-spanking-new. Now, I notice a nice car, sure, but I don’t NOTICE. Not like some of my charges.

A while back I had a little boy who was a true Car Guy. At two, he could identify a few cars by make, and had a clear eye for the good ones. The regular cars he didn’t much comment on, but let us pass something high end, and he NOTICED.

It wasn’t the colour that drew his eye. There are a few bright red and brilliant blue regular cars in the vicinity. No comment when we passed those. But when we passed the subdued grey vintage soft-top Mercedes? The one whose owner is outside, lovingly hand-buffing his beauty?

“Wow, Mary! That is a FANCY CAR!”
The owner doesn’t appear to notice. Probably too engrossed in the fondling.
“Yes, it sure is.”
“He’s making it all clean!”
“Well, when you have a fancy car, you want it to look nice, I guess.”

Tyler, wanting to be part of the conversation, interjects.
MY daddy has a fancy car!”

I look at him. One wants to be kind. One doesn’t want to quash such sweet family loyalty. One doesn’t… oh, who am I kidding? I’ve been handed this one on a silver platter. But before I open my mouth, my small Car Guy speaks.

“No, he doesn’t. Your daddy drives a Volvo.” Junior is not being mean. He’s not intending to insult. He’s just stating facts. Educating Tyler, who is clearly in desperate need of guidance. “Station wagons are not fancy.”

Car Guy snorts into his shammy. And shoots Junior Car Guy a big grin. Because Car Guys, they know stuff.

August 26, 2011 Posted by | the things they say! | , , , , | 3 Comments