Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wallowing in the "Keeping Up With the Joneses" Attitude

I look like a charity case today. I know I do.

And I certainly felt like one earlier.

Today's social schedule consisted of getting some donuts with my sister-in-law and nieces, then enjoying their new wading pool. Jacko has been looking forward to seeing our friends again.

But our adventure was marred by some bad news. Lucy's ear infection from last week has reared its ugly head again; instead of being ill because her ear is red, she is now ill because she is allergic to the infection's cure—amoxicillin.

I didn't realize that she was allergic until I suited her up for the teeny swimming pool my sister-in-law has. Hives ran up and down every available inch of Lucy's skin, which peaked out from all over her Anchors Away swimsuit. I was determined to call the doctor, but didn't worry about it too much. It was just my sister-in-law and nieces, right?

The housing development in which they live was built with the idea of forming communities. The houses are extremely close together, the yards are communal, and the residents just happen to be the friendly type. None of those things would describe my ideal neighborhood—I am rabid about being solitary unless I specifically invite people to hang with me. The idea of going to check the mail and seeing sixteen of my extremely friendly neighbors makes me squick out.

As my sister-in-law filled the swimming pool, the siren call of splashing water echoed to everyone in the area. Soon, the grass was covered in wet kids, chatting moms, and even a trick-doing doggie. Dressed in my "Didn't Take a Shower Yet Today" finest, I felt extremely awkward being introduced to the neighbors.

Hi, my name is Holly. Yeah, that's my kid with the hives coat on. Uh-huh, I am wearing my husband's shirt that's nearly too small for me. Oh no, make-up and hair brushing aren't really for me. You can probably tell, but I'm on my period RIGHT NOW.

The ladies I "met" today were ladies I had met before. Some of them several times.

None of them remembered me.

And all of them were beautiful. Like, size-2 beauty queens who were just casual enough to be believably real. Even my sister-in-law has some punk-rock hair that I adore.

When they spoke, I felt completely out of sync; the typical mom chatter about too many toys and disobedient kids was flecked with mentions of finishing basements and buying "quality" toys. My apartment-renting, second-hand-buying, Old-Navy-jeans-wearing self had no place in that conversation. I was relieved to be called away by the doctor's office.

Lucy was prescribed a new antibiotic, which gave me the perfect excuse to get out of there.

Gotta go! We have to go pick up the generic brand of Lucy's medicine!

I couldn't take wet kids to Target, so I went back into Shyla's house to change them into dry clothes. I was so angry at myself for feeling these things—I am a woman of worth and I'm sure that those ladies are too. Our exit from the house through the yard was quick, because I could already feel the tears stinging my eyes.

There are things that I can do to make myself feel better for next time, like actually putting effort into how I look or turning the conversation towards things to which I can relate. And who knows, maybe those neighbors will remember me next time.

But if they don't...

I hope my Keeping Up With the Joneses mentality won't be as prevalent. Because I like my life and would hate to be living theirs.

1 comment:

  1. Holly you are the perfect Holly!! No one could ever even come close to being how funny and wonderful as you are--that being said I am glad that you don't want to live their lives. I personally can only have a very limited people like that in my life and let's just say that spot is full and my Holly spot is full and hopefully I never have to fill that with someone else cause you have a case of "keeping up with the Joneses"!! You are absolutely wonderful!!