Human-ing

Everywhere we look we see signs of the virus, steps to prevent the spread and the inescapable ads and emails of every single company telling us ‘we are all in this together’. People wearing masks when out getting groceries. The lack of the need of gasoline for a car that spends days in the driveway. The stay at home orders have been for us inconvenient, but hardly a hardship. My heart breaks for the many that this is not the case.

While being at home, we’ve made crafts, continued our homeschooling curriculum and have gotten outside in some incredible Pacific Northwest weather days. As an introvert, I’m good most days. When chatting with my people, we all seem to have a wide range of emotions on any given day. Life is continuing on, but we are modifying. Some are no big deal, and then other days we are sloths trying to crawl through the hours that feel eternal. Time warps in quarantine. Some days are good, others feel yucky and every shade in between. In short, it’s been weird.

After 9 weeks of being at home, with the exception of the grocery store, I had a dentist appointment today. It felt odd knowing I actually had something scheduled on the calendar. What do I even wear? Should I leave early? (New dentist, unsure of exact location – duh. Google.) All the weird anxious thoughts I usually have at the dentist, plus mush for brains due to lack of normal socialization.

I carefully selected a shirt to go with a pair of capris. I picked out sandals. Every time I’m in the dentist’s chair looking at my feet I wish I’d put in some effort into making my feet look presentable. Or at the very least worn closed toed shoes. Not that the dentist cares, but in my head the dentist totally appraises each patient’s feet. Yes, it’s weird. Yes, I am aware that in reality they likely don’t give a rip. Yes, I have imagined the dentists and hygienists laughing at patients feet after a long day. You don’t think these bizarre thoughts and imagine crazy conversations? Hmmm, perhaps just me then.

With all of that rolling around my head, I shaved my legs. I clipped, filed and painted my toenails. I moisturized my legs and elbows.

For. the. dentist. I dressed up for the dentist. Okay, that’s a lot, even for me.

After sitting in the waiting room for a few moments, I was escorted back to my extra-sanitized chair. ‘Please do NOT act like a weirdo who hasn’t spoken to adults in real life in 9 weeks!’ I instructed myself. ‘Don’t be awkward!’

Fidgety and hoping I would be comfortable with the new dentist, I settled in and chatted with the hygienist who seemed quiet, reserved and…well, that is all I could tell from the eyes up. Having curly hair herself, we discussed the thing that all curlies discuss – products. It made us both relax. ‘I can do this, I am doing this,’ I cheered myself on silently. ‘You are human-ing!’

By the end of the cleaning and consult on work to be completed, the hygienist and I were agreeing that life felt hard and disjointed. The dentist told us of his started home improvement projects, and that since he was back to the office he’d now have to manage his time better than before to get everything finished. They hygienist laughed, admitting her pants were now tight after living in sweats for a month.

We’re all just out of whack. To varying degrees no doubt, but out of sorts nonetheless. It’s all just….odd. In the meantime, I have painted toes, shaved and moisturized legs, and of course, clean teeth to go with my quarantine brain.

Picking Up Chicks

The military has afforded us the opportunity to make some incredible friends. INCREDIBLE. Friends who I cried for as we or they moved on to the next adventure. Friends who I still chat with via social media and text, and yes, even by phone. There have also been what I call “friend fails”. Those would be the people you find out much too late are just either not compatible or are flat out crazy, but slipped under the craydar (crazy radar).

I’ve pondered the wonder that is making adult friends many times, but I have to say – California is a world unto its own. How the heck do you make mom friends when you move every three years? One word about being in the military sends many potentials running for the hills, even in a military town. Why invest when you’re just gonna move away? I get it. How do you make adult friends when your kids are older than all the toddlers running around the playground…and you don’t drink….annnnnnd you are kind of an introvert?

I met one mom at school orientation. She seemed nice and the kids hit it off. She told me many great places to eat in the area and some of the local hot spots. The secrets to navigating traffic timing were shared. We saw each other at a couple of functions. It was nice, all happening organically and not too fast (wouldn’t want to rush into anything too quickly). Then I bumped into her at a store and noticed what could have been a bit of powdered donut residue just around a nostril. Or it could have been some not-blended face powder. But….it seemed to be something else entirely based on observed behavior. It was also 8:30 am. Super awkward. Not my scene.

The second day of school I was approached blindsided by a mom of a student in my son’s class at the crosswalk. “HI! I noticed your son is in my son’s class! My name is June and this is my husband Mark. You are? And are you new to the area? Oh! You’re military! So you live right here!? No? Oh, you are on the waitlist. I see. And how long are you going to be here for? Andallthe500otherquestions.” I had no idea you could interrogate someone at a crosswalk and ask that many question in the time it takes for the stoplight to cycle through 1 time. I had to sit in my car for 3 minutes sipping my coffee to digest that entirely one-sided conversation. Who does that?!

Over the summer I chatted with a nice mom at the playground in our neighborhood. She had just moved in so we were commiserating on the challenges of relocating and being in the thick of the cardboard ocean. Against my better judgement, we exchanged numbers. I haven’t heard a word from her since. Today I got a text asking how I was, and what I was up to this Saturday. It had been so long, I had to think for 10 minutes about who the heck this person was. Once I realized it was a ghost from summer past, I responded, and she then invited me to a “business opportunity” to make residual income. Obviously I need to trust my instincts. A month and a half and no word. Then boom – besties who are going into business together?! Uhhh, no. Lose my number thankyouverymuch.

Not so shockingly, Hannah has made many friends already, being the ray of sunshine that she is. (Come to think of it, Hannah might one day be the crosswalk interviewer!) She came running up to me after school last week, breathless, “MOM! My friend’s mom wants to meet you!! Come quick!”

Me: “Sure!” I say brightly! With lots! of! exclamation! points! and! fake! smiles!

Sigh.

Turning the corner I walk in the room and see a woman who is everything I am not. She literally looks like she stepped out of Vogue. I tower over her because of course she is the size of a child. I could hip check her and she’d bounce half a mile. “Hi! I’m Hannah’s mom,” I introduce myself and try not to crush the limp Barbie-esque hand she extends. Picture Real Housewives. Or Stepford Wives.

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Friend’s Mom gushes: “Oh it’s such a pleasure to finally meet you! Hannah has told me so much about you!”

Me: Blinking. ***Crickets***  ‘Finally’ meet me? School has only been in for a week and a half! What the heck has my child told her? Oh I’m sure I’m under the bus. Waaayyyy under that bus.

Friend’s Mom continues in her sing-song voice, “My daughter has been raving about how wonderful Hannah is and I was so hoping she’d find someone to be her BFF! They seem to be a perfect match! Let’s meet at the park tomorrow if you’re free to have a playdate!”

Me: Still blinking. This is all happening way too fast. Her voice is seriously like a character on SNL. (Yes, the Californians. EXACTLY like that. For real.) “Okay, that would be lovely,” I reply, continuing the ruse that I am, in fact, a functioning adult and am not panicking inside that I will have to make small talk with a stranger to whom my daughter has no doubt told our entire life story.

The following day Hannah can hardly contain her excitement. We meet up at the playground and the kids play. We chat. Lots of talk of GMOs and healthy eating. She insists that I must try a nut bar she just purchased. She laments that her “household help” that has been with her family for over two decades has suddenly moved away. “I’m simply overtaxed with committees and volunteer work – I just don’t know what I’ll do!” She asks if I have a cleaning person. I respond with the “I’m a do-it-yourselfer”-type. She tells me that I “simply must come by the house for another play date some time.” When my daughter sees this person’s beach front property, boat and hired help, she’s never going to want to come home!

I try to be an optimist/”bloom where you’re planted”/make the best of all the duty stations sort of approach to life in the military. Some are better than others, but after my track record so far, I’m just not holding my breath. I feel like I’m being Punk’d. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Recreational drug use, check.

Crosswalk interrogator, check.

Untethered to reality, check.

Pyramid/ponzi schemer, check, check, check.

As the saying goes, ‘I think the more people I meet, the more I like my dogs’. Based on what we’ve seen so far, if I’m friend-single this time around, I think I’ll be okay with that!