Friday, July 15, 2005

Attitude Differences

You want to know what the worst part about living in suburbia in Rochester is? Being surrounded by people, yet never having anyone to do things with. It’s been quite an adjustment for me moving from the country to a Rochester subdivision. Actually, I don’t even think I’m close to actually adjusting yet. Almost daily I find myself feeling out of place, like I don’t really belong here, kind of like that awkward uncle that shows up for family reunions that everyone looks at funny and doesn’t want to talk to.

The biggest shock for me has been how much different the people are. In the country everyone knew everyone and whenever you saw someone from the community you could expect to talk with them for at least a few minutes, if not burn an hour or two just talking crap. In town here I’d be lucky to get more than a hello or head nod from many of the people I see.

Every day I go running throughout our subdivision and every day I see some new faces. When I run by them I always make sure to smile and say hello but more often that not it’s completely lost on whoever I’m running past because they’ve averted their eyes from me or they’re pretending that I don’t exist. There have actually been a few surprised double takes from people as I said hello, making it seem like I just told them their father died instead of simply saying hi. It’s just that unexpected to them.

So how am I supposed to actually meet and talk to people and, God forbid, maybe make some friends in my community? I’m clueless. I’m not naturally an overly extroverted person, but I’m also not a complete recluse. I’ll try to spark conversations with people, but usually only when I feel comfortable doing it. If anything being confronted by suburban life, I’ve tried to become more outgoing, but have utterly failed to make any connections with people.

It’s not any better at the bars either. If you go during the week people pretty much stick to their groups that they arrived at the bar with. If you go during the weekend people are only out to get dates, not hang out and possibly make a friend. Where’s the happy medium?

Usually a lot of people, when they arrive in a new place, will turn to work to find friends. I’ve already been working at my workplace for almost three years if you count my internships so I know everyone already. Considering it’s a really small company, about 15 people large at our office, it’s not that hard to get to know everyone.

Unfortunately most of the people at work, and by most I mean everyone but myself, a guy living with his girlfriend, a guy who’s divorced, a girl who’s been engaged for like 15 years, and one of my college classmates are all married. This means that almost everyone has kids or a wife to go home to so they aren’t too keen on hanging out, or even if they are they have to run it by their spouse (or girlfriend). There’s also very little turnover in our company since it is so small that there is rarely an influx of new people to meet.

So what’s a guy who only has a few friends in town to do? Well, first of all complain. I’m really good at that. Beyond that I’ve now started to seriously consider joining some clubs here in town—possibly trying martial arts or maybe taking dance classes, although both are relatively expensive, but then again I haven’t looked extensively at either.

Another thing I’m seriously thinking about is volunteering. Why not help out my community? There’s always more work to be done than there are workers to do it, and if there’s one thing that’s really rubbed off from my time with Kristin it’s that volunteering is important. I might not be doing some grand mission trip to another country or dedicating 40 hours a week to it, but I’d be helping out and if that doesn’t help me feel a little bit better about myself, I don’t know what possibly can.

Who knew it would be this hard just to meet people and find people to hang out with? There really is no replacing a college atmosphere for meeting people. Here in suburbia, it’s a different story altogether.

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