Wednesday, December 02, 2015

On Living With.... People

As you must surely recall, I live in a tiny, tiny town.

When I lived in Cold City (metro population: about 500,000) I avoided people I disliked.  I didn't hang out with people from the hippie co-op, I didn't go to anything with the word 'natural' or 'attachment' in its description, and I didn't venture into places teeming with the under-vaccinated children of religious wingnuts and/or left-wing loonies. (Here, these collectively describe every public place.)

Here... not so much.  There is one of everything and if I am there, I will see someone I know (and maybe dislike).  Why do I dislike all these people? Mostly, them being evangelical about some personal choice (MLMs, not vaccinating, vegetarianism*, cooking all organic). You know, the kind of person who sends out a recipe that calls for "Organic Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes"** or who mentions five times that they made a VEGETARIAN anniversary dinner.  The kind of person who firmly believes their choices are morally superior to yours.

And by the way the food part really pisses me off.***  Way to really feed into the cultural food-as-moral-value!

(There are plenty of things we don't eat - bacon, for example. I've never told my children our choice had any moral value.  I say 'We don't eat that in our house. When you're living in your own house you can eat whatever you  want.')

In addition, this is a college town.  Anyone I piss off, odds are still pretty good I'll be living in town with them for the next 30 years and will see them weekly for all of it.

I embrace the part of my personality that is a grinch, but how do I grinch in a socially appropriate manner that I won't regret in ten years?  I am confounded.

(Mostly right now this is an academic -ha!- question because all my hours are used to by baby nursing and child ferrying and dealing with not having a stove for TWO MONTHS and it's not like I have time to socialize.)

* I was a strict vegetarian for 10 years.  
** This really happened.  For Pete's  sake, people, they're tomatoes in a metal can.
*** In casual conversation.  Anti-vaccine nuts piss me off more, naturally.


  1. Anonymous10:31 AM

    You still don't have a stove?! I'm amazed you haven't done serious damage to someone yet.

    1. STILL NO. (Oven, but no stove.). Stove fizzled and threw breaker, took stove to repair shop, repair shop dithered, ordered new one, new one took two weeks to arrive because tiny town, old one got repaired, old one got reinstalled, old one fizzled out and didn't work, took old one out, discovered new one was TOO BIG. Wept and drank wine. Called electrician to make sure house wouldn't catch fire, THEN ordered another one. Stove 3 is also taking two weeks to arrive. Also I need a strip of metal because spouse's ill informed opinion aside, stovetops do NOT come in exact standard sizes. Woe is me, etc.

  2. I think you need to re-read Pride and Prejudice, and try to cultivate the attitude of Mr. Bennett. "For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in turn." I realize it isn't easy to laugh at the follies of others when your natural reaction is anger.

    Have I mentioned that I'm trying to learn to like weeding? Also, housework. I'm halfway there, I don't hate either anymore. I'm nearly ambivalent. I couple unpleasant chores with positive stimulus like podcasts, movies, or chocolate. It's going well. Perhaps in two years I'll like weeding for its own sake.

  3. Weird. I also (usually) live in a small town in the rural south, but finding AP/vegetarian/etc. is pretty difficult. I have a few vegetarian colleagues here and there but they're certainly not evangelical about it. Not to say there aren't evangelical folks, but they're you know, evangelicals.

    I'm sure there are people connected to the university who are evangelical about AP etc., but I just don't come into contact with them most likely because I avoid mother's groups like the plague. And I'm older and not hanging around so many first time parents. And I guess we don't socialize much outside of elementary school stuff and I'm not on facebook so I don't see any of that.

    Evangelical about MLMs I do see in passing. Especially candles.

    1. Alas, I lack a full time job and am forced to be around other randomly selected mothers.

      The part where I teach at a military school doesn't help much, either.

  4. Anonymous3:37 PM

    Small towns and faculty in departments - all people you can't piss off toooo much because they just aren't going anywhere. Not fun.

  5. I think you grinch HERE, and with the townsfolk you keep your mouth shut and devise the right viewpoint for not letting it bug the hell out of you. Now that I'm back among a bunch of random parents it sometimes seems like what looks like moral superiority is often about sending out signals to attract like-minded people. So "I cooked a vegetarian dinner" is less about "...and am therefore better than you are" and more about "this is something I care about, anyone else care about that?" Like a bunch of birds showing their brightly colored feathers in the hope of attracting a mate. Maybe you can be the bird that maintains an air of serenity in the face of all their foolishness. And bears in mind that a lot of foolishness passes in a few years.

    Not that I could take this advice. I fucking hate people.

    1. The veg. eater in question, alas, is full of unearned moral superiority.

      Probably I'm just lonely because I want REAL friends HERE and all my REAL friends are somewhere ELSE.


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