Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A stormy Sunday

Last Sunday was the afternoon of the WAFL grand final and of my friend's baby shower.

I am pleased (very pleased!) to report that Claremont won the WAFL premiership.

I am also pleased to report that my friend had a good afternoon, or at least that all indications would suggest so.

I still don't fully grasp the concept of a baby shower, but I can see that the idea of having friends come together to offer well wishes and congratulations, before the significant changes that a first baby brings, may be helpful to some.

For myself, it was bitter-sweet. I sometimes feel out of place at social events like this, where my friends are slightly older, or just in different stages. There were probably 20 people there, of whom at least 5 were pregnant, another 2 had children, perhaps 10 were married.

I don't want children right now. And whilst I was happy for my friend, and it was nice to catch up with other friends who I hadn't seen for some time, on that particular afternoon I really wanted to be at the football. Thinking of Mr Bite and his siblings amongst the crowd and excitement, whilst I made small talk about babies and social niceties, was hard.

I think the problem was that at the baby shower, I felt out of place. I didn't fully fit in. This made me acutely aware of one of the advantages of following sport, and perhaps one of the reasons I have come to embrace it. By following a team, you automatically belong (on one level at least) with others who support that team. This applies more than ever at final matches, and in large-scale crowds.

These thoughts, and the afternoon in general, left me feeling a little odd, a little sad. Anticipating a long and busy Monday probably didn't help either.

Unfortunately, the day didn't end there. As I was reflecting on these things, I received a knock on the door.

Without going into an excessive and boring amount of detail, it was a neighbour complaining about where one of our cars was parked. Some houses in our neighbourhood have street parking only, and this particular person seemed to view the bit of street out the front of his house as his private property. Although we weren't in his valued spot, we were, it seems, too close to it.

(I will note that we were parked somewhere we were entitled to park, according to parking regulations and council guidelines.)

I don't deal well with criticism, especially criticism delivered in the form of being told off. I generally end up in tears. I did on this occasion. I was teary before the conversation was half over, and when the neighbour had left, I proceeded to sob for some minutes.

I'm calmer now, the day has passed, and my emotions are back into smooth(er) waters. The day certainly got me thinking though, and I suspect will for some time yet, on the mystifying ways of society.

My conclusions thus far? All our efforts to feel like we're part of a group or a team (whether socially, in sport, or in other areas), and/or to honour social rituals, can seem meaningless when confronted with one rude individual with a personal vendetta.

It seems like there is something wrong with that.

Have you had negative experiences with neighbours? Or experiences that make you wonder about the ways of society?


  1. Oh how trying - I have noticed that certain people around me celebrate these rituals around babies and marriage in a far different way than makes me comfortable - most of the time I manage to keep away from such rituals - so I understand how unfounded rudeness could just be the tipping point

  2. Ugh, it sounds like that neighbor sucks - just ignore him/her and the negativity! (I know, far easier said than done!)

  3. People like that neighbor should NOT move into places that have only "1 parking spot", esp. if it is not really their spot to begin with!

    My parents live in a condo complex and have a terrible neighbor that lives across the street. When I lived with them, I was working late nights and would ride my motorcycle home around midnight. That really angered him. He complained constantly about noise because, "We need to sleep with our windows open and my wife gets up for work at 5 am!" He's the type of person who should of bought a single family home....
    He even threatened to call and report my grandmother when she was here with her 3 dogs because she left them in the garage for 2 hours while she went out for lunch with my parents. Really a ridiculous man who thinks the world revolves around his needs.

  4. Neighbours can be the bane of your existence. And I certainly understand about how you feel in those situations. I'm such a crier, god it annoys me, and those situations are awful.

    Did they play games at the baby shower? I loathe that, forced playtime for adults is just bizarre. But I do think you did the right thing, your friend no doubt really appreciates you being there. A large proportion of my friends now have kids and recently one of my friends thanked me so sincerely for coming along to all the kids stuff because it meant a lot to her.

    Still at least the team won!

  5. Oh you poor thing. I have a tendency to crumble too when faced with aggression but I am getting better as I get older. We used to have a neighbour that parked in our garage when we went to work. There was quite a barney when one of us moved to half days and came home early.
    Hang in there!

  6. You are right about society being mystifying. We were just having a conversation last night, with much shaking of heads, and disappointment.

    Unfortunately moments like your neighbour do happen, and it's completely unfair as a street...is a street and if you park in 'his' spot, well tough luck. Maybe he had had a bad day, his budgie had just died and dinner was burnt? Don't take it personally Kari, you've got far too many good things to think about than one crotchety old neighbour who really needs to get another hobby than to pester you.

    Now go find your group that makes you smile and lifts your heart... (I think that could be a reading group or two if I remember correctly :-)

  7. @Johanna GGG
    I'm so glad I'm not the only one to experience that. There aren't many people in my 'real' life who don't share that focus on social rituals, so it's easy to forget sometimes that there are other like-minded people out there!

  8. @Megan (Best of Fates)
    It is, but hearing it helps nonetheless :)

  9. @brocstar
    Oh my goodness! Your ex-neighbour would definitely give this guy a run for his money. Wouldn't it be nice if they could get each other as neighbours? Hehehe.

  10. @Lisa
    I'm now feeling rather lucky, for not having to play games! Ick. As you say though, I guess these things are sometimes needed in the name of friendship. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for your support :)

  11. @Liz@LastChanceTraining
    He parked in your garage?! Goodness. There seem to be a lot of these people around.

    I think not crumbling when faced with aggression is something for me to keep working on...

  12. @cityhippyfarmgirl
    This was such a nice comment - thank you so very much. It really means a lot, and I am taking all aspects on board right now :) I'm going to start by seeking out a book and a cup of tea... Thank you!

  13. Trying on my home computer now! And can only write briefly as I'm about to leave for gospel...

    Your description of why you follow (or a benefit of) sports makes more sense to me than any other explanation for why sports can be enjoyable. Thank you for helping me see it in that light!

    I truly know what you mean about feeling left out. I'm 24 and have never had a proper relationship (to be honest, most of my life I haven't wanted one), and this often makes me feel so *wrong* that I feel like screaming.

    Lastly, I bawled my eyes out when someone left a nasty note on my car last year! Bastards.

    P.S. HUGS HUGS!! I like you!

  14. Hannah, thank you so much! For trying again (that, in itself, is enough) and for your words and for UNDERSTANDING! Really, thank you.

  15. OH Kari, huuuuuuuuuuuuuugs! What a rotten sunday! Baby shower and all! I understand how you feel only the other way around, I had my daughter (unplanned) way earlier than any of my friends. Felt so lonesome ... they were partying, having fun, I was at home with the baby I adored after all but still, in a very different place from my friends. Yet not fitting in with the mums I'd met either through mothers group etc. We always feel on the outer sometimes, good reminder I think that there are a lot of different lives being lived and to love the one you're living.
    And I also want to cry when someone is being awful to me too! But I try to make myself cross instead. So much easier to deal with being cross than feeling shaken and unsettled! Your neighbour really is mean!

  16. ugh neighbourhood disputes are the worst! Although, I am lucky enough to say, that we have WONDERFUL neighbours at the moment :) A cute little Greek lady who brings me food and didnt stop hugging me when she found out we were pregnant :)

    re the baby shower - I too would feel more at place at the footy than at a baby shower (and I'm pregnant! lol)

  17. Oh, thank you :) I think being cross sounds much better - I've been working on that quite effectively this week! Also, I didn't know the background to your daughter. That would be harder than my experiences, and such a steep learning curve too. It is nice to know that these periods of not fitting in can pass, and as you say, it doesn't have to matter.

  18. Oh, thank you :) I think being cross sounds much better - I've been working on that quite effectively this week! Also, I didn't know the background to your daughter. That would be harder than my experiences, and such a steep learning curve too. It is nice to know that these periods of not fitting in can pass, and as you say, it doesn't have to matter.

  19. If you would feel more at place at the football, then that makes me feel considerably better :P Hehe.

    Your neighbour sounds delightful - I'm going to put in an application for one of those!

  20. Oh, sometimes people can be total jerks. Sorry you were upset. Sending you a giant hug. X

  21. Oh Kari, you poor thing - BIG hugs! Neighbour disputes are the worst, I've had a few and normally end up sobbing, like you. People can just be so selfish and irrational, especially when it comes to parking. I don't know how anyone could tell off someone as nice as you!

    I also completely understand the 'not fitting in' woes. It's definitely not a nice feeling. At least you fit in in blogland! :-)

  22. Thank you Brooke! Very much appreciated :)


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