The 'Burbs.

by Stefanie Wilder-Taylor

 

Last week I ran into one of my neighbors I barely know at the local Trader Joe’s. She didn’t recognize me so I introduced myself. “Oh yeah, I think I remember you. Weren’t you supposed to get the fire truck for the block party a few years back?”

 

I live in Encino, California. Although it’s a good ten miles from Hollywood or Silverlake or any other hip suburb where people are known to have “family tattoo night” or shop for kitschy Jesus candles, it’s still LA, so a neighborhood such as mine you'd think would be a freaking goldmine of fun moms, moms as laid back as a Darma after a nice "emeter" session at Scientology. But this is sadly not the case. The case is, the moms here are stiff. I'm sorry if any of them know that this is me writing this but let's face it, you're boring. A few of you are exceptions and if you're reading this then you know I'm not speaking about you. But the rest...lighten up! I think I may just not be uptight enough to deal with suburban life.

 

The first time I knew I was in over my head was less than two years into the neighborhood (the first one spend holed up in my house pregnant and sick) and less than one year into motherhood. I found out about the local Block party happening on my street and like a good neighbor volunteered to help out. I didn’t realize I’d have to join a committee but by then it was too late to back out.

 

"Stefanie, you are in charge of face painting, temporary tattoos and making sure that the local fire department sends a truck at 3 o’clock for the kids to climb on. We do that every year.”

 

“Okay. Done.” Sounded easy enough. I called the firehouse and asked if they could send a truck for some of the older kids. Mind you, my daughter at eleven months old couldn't give a rat's ass about fire trucks, hoses or hard hats, but I don't have a problem helping out and it was not hard to give the old fire station a ring and ask them to bring their shiniest truck. The fireman in charge sounded downright delighted and said they’d absolutely be there at 3 o’clock on the nose barring major emergency. I sent a reminder email the day before “just in case.” I’m responsible like that.

 

The day of the party came and while I tried to have a good time and make small talk with women about scintillating topics like kids’ craft classes, the difficulties of trying to change commercial agents for a seven year old who is going through an awkward phase and the merits of breastfeeding. Although I was practically bored into a coma, I thought I was doing an okay job integrating myself into my neighborhood and hoped I’d come out of it with a few friends or at least friendly acquaintances. Meanwhile, 3 o’clock rolled around and the fire truck hadn’t shown up. I kept peeking down to the corner at the place it was confirmed it would show up and it wasn’t there. At 3:10 p.m, the questions started: “Did they say they’d be here for sure? Are you sure you called the station on Balboa? Did you make sure to speak with Carl?”

 

jackied
09.01.09

I really the "The Burbs" needs to be a regular column on Mommy Track'd. There's just SO much more to say...

cindyloo
09.01.09

The sad thing is, we would get along perfectly but I live in Ohio, LOL. I am the same, I dont fit in with other moms at the school and dont really try very hard. I dont go out of my way to know my neighbors either. I am just not in to that kind of stuff. Even though I will take my child to participate in activities, I will not be apart of planning stuff.

MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt
09.01.09

So you're saying it might never end? What I mean is the difficulty to find real friends. Still childless I was just talking to my husband about how hard it is to find couple we actually really truly enjoy spending time with. For some reason I assumed this would magically solve itself when we have kids.
http://www.myhormonesmademe.com

mommy of one
08.29.09

We just moved to a new city, and I am THRILLED to have found a group of moms in my neighborhood who have interests beyond the typical "kids, kids, kids". They are a group of women who are laid-back and FUN! I'm so thankful---it's made all the difference in loving our new community or being miserable. LOVE IT!

angstmom
08.29.09

oh the tedium and relentlessness of trying to make "mommy friends". i actually don't even make much of an effort anymore- just because we both have kids the same age doesn't mean we have anything in common. i hardly have time for my real friends- let alone, one dimensional women who have nothing to say but "you never got the fire-truck." and why do these drive-bys always happen at trader joes? i once had a mommy acquaintance tell me i needed a boob job in the produce aisle!

tvtrace
08.28.09

I've never felt like one of "the moms". So when I do meet a mom just like me...I grab onto her and don't let go! Who says that once you become a mom your life has to center around your kids and stinkin' block parties!

Tracy
http://themoxiereport.blogspot.com

katluvsshoes
08.28.09

"I can tell when people are not into my brand of sass or outspokenness or as I like to call it "eccentric sense of humor." I'm not weird. I'm not into voo doo, hell I don't even do yoga but I'm just not all about block parties, kids’ soccer, kids’ karate, kids, kids, kids."

I'm a mom of two and love them to death, but I'm very much about having life outside of kids! My friends and I just decided to organize a Bunco night twice per month. Something fun to do where we can be women first for a night, not just mom-bots.

I have a feeling we'd get along well. Unlike those other moms, I appreciate your sass and eccentric sense of humor!