I have been, and always will be, a little bit of a child. I can’t help it. I like to think this makes me charming, but to most it probably makes me flighty and inconsistent. Like a child, I am totally fascinated by whatever surrounds me, and while I can supplement it with imagination, don’t usually supplement it with anything practical. Case in point: I am terrible at communicating with old friends, though I will reply to messages they send me. More often, however, I comb the interwebs for information about them and imagine them happily doing well rather than actually speaking. Forgive me friends, I try. This unfortunate personality trait left me feeling a bit lonely when I first landed in Small Town.
That isn’t to say I had no one to talk to. I had a cousin in Big City, and I spent several weekends with him. We saw movies, went to concerts, frequented coffee shops, and visited churches. That last one was exciting. I grew up in a very conservative church, where you at least tried to dress up on Sunday and definitely spoke formally. This church was frequented by people in dreadlocks, skinny jeans, and flannel, who brought their toddler daughters in big, puffy, Sunday dresses. Weird. As much fun as I had with my cousin, it was very obviously his life and his friends. Visits were awesome, but ultimately left me feeling a bit more lonely at the fact I had no life.
There was also the occasional meeting with my mentors. They are great people, but I felt a little uneasy around them at first. Though, through them that first week I found out that Small Town had a small circle of swingers. I also found out that the mayor’s wife had a chest so big a shop made special, mayor’s wife sock monkeys to celebrate her more than healthy assets. My mentors were a great source of information, but I wasn’t sure how much I could share with them at first. Our conversations were super one-sided.
Those weren’t my only outlets for conversation. I also experienced a new, adulty, very small-towny tradition: potluck dinners. I went to two. One I successfully made a dish. The other I set off the fire alarm as my cake literally caught on fire. Whoops. I would inevitably bring whatever I could scrap together to a coworkers house, apologize for the fact it might only be a cup of raspberry sauce, watch their infant children roll on the carpet, and feel really awkward that I had no child or husband to discuss. I felt more than a bit out of place. While I made a lovely set of acquaintances, Small Town still felt lonely.
One night, as I felt sorry for myself and played Pokemon rather than lesson plan, something amazing happened. A big, pentagonal bug flew to my window. It was bright green, and unlike anything I had every seen. I knocked at it. It sat still. I knocked again. It still sat still. I feel, in this moment, we bonded. And then it did something amazing: it laid many little eggs in a pentagon shape. I understood immediately: she was trusting me with her children, and giving me friends. After all, we had a lot in common, little bugs and I. We were all new in town, living in tiny spaces, and just waiting to bust out of our shells and dazzle all with our flashy ways. It was a match made in heaven.
Soon after, my orientation started, and I met the other new teachers. They were really cool, and I actually bonded with a few. We started talking more regularly. Success!! Then, I met another person at CPR class. Apparently this person hated being touched, but our first interaction was me putting my finger in her belly button as we practiced the Heimlich. Score. Later that night, she zipped up my dress in the back of another coworkers car, and huddled awkwardly with me when we were forced to socialize. Score, another friend. Finally, in a moment of ridiculousness, I visited my downstairs neighbor, offered her raspberry sauce (damn you burnt chocolate cake), and proceeded to booty drop in the middle of her floor. This odd first impression somehow led to a friendship that never really changed in tone. Win! I succeeded in making human friends!
Not long after all this, I noticed my bug friends were no longer content to sit in their pretty green eggs. They busted out, little brown and bright red circles with bunches of scrawny bug legs, and flew away. We haven’t spoken in a while, but I am sure their flashy colors have impressed some other bugs out there.