I have two injuries from last weekend. The scrape on my elbow from picking up a kayak seems like a reasonable one to have, even if I did scrape my left elbow while picking up the boat on my right side. The other injury, though, is much more ridiculous: I had a blister and then ripped the skin off from sweeping goose poop off our dock. The first year, the geese avoided our dock; now they have found it. After two weeks away, it had a truly amazing amount of crap on it (“amazing amount of crap” is a phrase you never want to have to use when speaking literally). In case anyone cares, the best methodology for goose poop removal seems to be to start with a light sweeping (“light” being what I didn’t do and why I got the blister) to remove the dry stuff, followed by alternating buckets of water tossed with strategic aim and sweeping to get everything else off. Fortunately there’s enough of a current to carry it away once it’s washed or swept into the water, and I don’t feel guilty about sweeping it in since presumably geese poop there too.
WHINING AHEAD: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
I am feeling a bit invisible and isolated lately. Not so much online, really, but in meatspace. I’m grateful that I do still get responses here, considering how infrequently I post, and I do get a lot of interaction on Ravelry, my other main online space.
On the other hand, in physical space and even online areas based more on in-person acquaintanceship, things are different.
At work, I sit in an area with only a few other people. Most of my colleagues eat lunch at their desks; I miss the way my groups in Taiwan and the Netherlands would all go eat together. More more of my meetings are telecons than in-person, and I have somewhat fewer meetings and more solo work than in my last job. Lots of meetings get postponed, though always for valid reasons. I do get pretty good responsiveness to questions and requests.
Socially – there pretty much is no socially here. A lot of our social life both in Arizona and in the Netherlands was through rowing, but we don’t have any water close enough to make it practical to row during the week. We do have some rowing contacts at the lake house, but it’s not economically feasible to join their club when we only get out there every other week, or sometimes less (plus we use our own equipment and don’t need club boats). I take a longish lunch one day a week to go to my local knitting group, and that’s about it for social interaction. I try to go to work social events when they have them. I could do more knitting stuff – there are multiple knit nights a week around here – but it’s hard to drag myself back out of the house after I’ve gotten home and worked out, and the times I have gone were nice but not so great as to make me feel I’m missing a lot.
When we moved here, we did meet up once with an old friend of Ted’s but she’s way on the other side of town. I’ve tried to get together with a longtime acquaintance from the LordPeter list who lives very close by; she’s said she wants to but has pled illness for a year and a half. (No, I haven’t nagged. We emailed a couple times early on and then I checked back once recently.) If she wanted, she could invite me to come to her to to a neutral place close to her. I’d guess this is most likely an excuse but if not, then she’s clearly just not well enough to have new people in her life.
I’ve kind of run short on people to just call and talk to. I used to talk to my uncle and grandmother fairly regularly, but we lost her in 1997 or so and him in 2009. (Dad died a few months ago, but never liked to talk on the phone anyway.) Mom is a bit unsatisfactory to talk to these days because she focuses only on what and who she sees daily and isn’t that interested in much else – to the point that she’ll refer to “them” and “he” with no warning and I’m just supposed to know the former is my brother and SIL and the latter my nephew (because why would anyone want to talk about anything else?). I don’t really care what she ate yesterday or if everyone at her new place thinks her grandson is cute. (Of course I do talk to her regularly and listen to her talk about these things anyway, because I need to support her. And I don’t want to give the wrong impression, having met a few too many people with horrible uncaring mothers. She does try – she called just yesterday to check back because I’d mentioned on Monday that Ted wasn’t feeling well. It’s just the way her mind works – out of sight is out of mind, to some degree.)
As for friends elsewhere, I never did spent much time on the phone with them anyway – more to make plans than just chat. A lot of people don’t email much these days. Some of my physical-world friends do or did blog, but I can’t read blogs during the day from this job. Somehow it seems to be easier to catch up with Facebook’s two-line updates and skippable memes than to read blogposts in my very limited evening free time, especially with fewer and fewer people writing those posts. (I realize I am a part of the problem here and I keep resolving to do better.)
Even on Facebook (where my friendslist is a blend of people I went to school with, people I’ve met along the way, dnd people from assorted online contexts) I feel a bit isolated. People answer when I comment on their stuff, and they ‘like’ or comment on mine some, but of course you rarely get real conversation there. And, though this sounds silly, I don’t get tagged for stuff. I didn’t particularly want to dump ice water on my head (and I’m perfectly capable of donating to a charity on my own volition) though coming up with ten books that have hit me hard might have been fun. But it’s not really wanting to do those things, which of course I could do on my own anyway. It feels stupid to even complain – after all, I don’t like tagging other people, because I don’t want to inconvenience them and because some people dislike being called out in public. It’s just, I don’t know, sort of a graphic demonstration that I’m not particularly in the forefront of anyone’s mind. (Don’t get me wrong; I am not asking to be tagged for anything, either – that wouldn’t really solve the problem.)
Of course there’s Ted as a constant in my life; I couldn’t be luckier or happier to have him there. I just don’t think it’s either effective or fair to expect one person to serve as the majority of my human contact.
It takes a while to make friends after you move. Moving frequently means you will be more isolated for a while. Some jobs have less contact than others. None of this is problematic on its own; it’s just all hitting me together, and not having a local rowing club cuts off one more thing that’s been a support for me elsewhere.
People at this company like to quote studies about how no one can really multitask and you (=everyone) get more done if you focus. I’m not convinced. I like being interrupted now and then. I like having people around to bounce ideas off, and I like conversations that meander. Without those, I think I get a little down – not clinically depressed, just mild situational depression – and I function less effectively. The other point is that I’m not *really* alone; I was happier when I was working at home on my book and could wear what I wanted, work on the schedule I wanted, lounge comfortably on a sofa, take time to relax and let ideas percolate if I needed to. Right now I have all the constraints of working in an office, without the fun of talking to other people much, and without much people contact outside work to make up for it.
There are some problems that can be solved by throwing money at them. I think this is one you can only solve by throwing time at it – wait, meet people, be friendly, and hope things change gradually.
Oh, and also: the complete lack of reviews on my book doesn’t help. Even if someone said they hated it, at least you’d know they read it.