The People in My Neighborhood

Posted: August 22nd, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Career Confusion, Friends and Strangers, Misc Neuroses | 1 Comment »

So I’ve been interviewing for jobs (yeah yeah, haven’t even skimmed the surface here of all my thoughts on that). And I go to this one interview for a job and I’m feeling some interest and then they tell me about this other bigger, better job that gives me that whole “I still got it!” adrenaline rush and next thing you know I’m driving home thinking about hiring a full-time nanny and moving the whole family to the other side of the Bay.

Of course, when I woke up the next day all these thoughts had me breathing into a paper bag and I was hugging Little Miss Kate and kissing her head as if I’d just sold her on eBay and immediately needed to hand her over to her new owner. So, I stopped and thought (thanks to much great advice from Mark, Lisa and a host of other friends), let’s just take this one step at a time. I don’t even have an offer yet, and if I get one, maybe we don’t need to move. Ah…

Well, that lasted for 3 minutes until I bounced back into a frantic housing quest on Craig’s List while compulsively asking myself, do I like living in Oakland enough to commute? Do I like our house? Am I happy? Is chicken parm really my favorite dinner?

All this was exhausting. And so as I was sitting at the very desk where I’m sitting now, checking email and conducting other such electronic busy work, I saw my neighbor walk out of her house with her yoga matt tucked under her arm and realized that was exactly what I needed. It was evening, Kate was asleep and Mark was home. So I stumbled into the kitchen while pulling off my jeans and wondering where my matt was and asked Mark if he’d mind if I ditched dinner for a dose of physical and spititual well-being. Within 7 minutes I was unrolling my matt at the fab yoga studio that’s a block from our house and chatting with my neighbor. I was settled in on my sit bones and breathig deeply by the first Om.

After class my neighbor and I walked home through the tree-lined streets and I felt like I was floating–a totally different human then two hours earlier. How great that we live here. How great that my neighbor is a friendly yogini. This is something I might not get somewhere else, right?

Sunday I went to a meeting to help plan an event at a local kiddie park. They’ve added some new things–swings, picnic tables, etc.–and are having a community party to unveil it all. Another neighbor has been entrenched in this project from an architectural/design standpoint pro bono for years. So I sat in some woman’s cool family home–a beautiful Craftsman that I’d admired on walks before–and ate grapes and cookies and drank tea and met some other cool people who really love and care for and work hard on making Rockridge a better place to live. The spirit was contagious.

At the meeting’s end, the hostess walked us to the door and said to me and my friend Jacqueline (whom I’d enlisted) how good it was to have a new crop of young mothers working on this family/community stuff. She’s been involved since her now-15-year old was a toddler.

I am happy to carry the baton for the next generation! I pledge my allegiance to all things Rockridge!

And Monday. The night before Kate was up three times, which sucks because that means I was too (and will she EVER sleep through the night?), but also because I was having a, say, stomach affliction that had me running to the bathroom between tending to her. The next day I was pale and still sicky. I had no plans (unusual), and a baby who I’d be hard-pressed to deal with if she started to get fussy. The most distraction I could muster for her was a walk to Safeway, and as I’m slowly getting us ready to go out into the gloomy day, the doorbell rings. It’s Architect Mama Neighbor who smiles and hands over an armful of cute baby clothes for La Kate–hand-me-downs from her toddler. Our 5-minute visit was neither an intense bonding sesh, nor super interesting in any way, but it was a perfectly timed drop-in on a day when I was convinced there was no one else in the world but sicky me and little Kate. Hooray! If I continue to live here I may not ever be one of those people who dies and is discovered weeks later just because of the stench.

Yesterday, my kumbaya experience was capped off by Yoga Lady Neighbor who I saw at the schmancy local market. She was in a hurry–off to get home and eat before heading to the corner coffee shop where her knitting group meets weekly.

Do I knit? Or would I like to learn how? It’s a really fun and mellow group. Or, if I didn’t want to learn there, she’d’ be happy to teach me another time one-on-one. She has a bunch of extra needles I could use.

Well, as evidenced by my lame-assed attempts to contribute to the afghan that friends and family made for Kate, I don’t know that I’ll ever be a knitter. But I will be happy knowing that on Monday nights there is a group of friendly woman who are a’knittin’ and a’perlin’ just a stone’s throw away, who’d welcome me even if I were to walk in and profess my utter ineptitude.

So we are here. We live in Rockridge and it’s our home. For a while, I was lured into forsaking it, but then it became clear to me that there are so many reasons–some that I don’t even know yet–that it’s good and right to be here. So if I take a job that’s not in my backyard (or at this very desk!), I drive a little bit to get there. At least at the end of the day I’ll come home to the all the great people and places in my neighborhood.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “The People in My Neighborhood”

  1. 1 John "Doe" said at 12:07 pm on August 24th, 2006:

    I’m sorry. I forgot to check this out… now I have. it’s great… I’ll try to make it a regular stomping ground! (and bookmark it for when I get some womens pregnant.)


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