Years ago I wrote a poem. About feeling lonely and trying to connect with others. I was newly married and had recently moved here, to Highland Park, New Jersey. I remember being invited to a family’s house for lunch, where they talked finishing basements and second grade teachers. My husband still jokes about finishing basements as the boring suburban topic that scares off singles and newlyweds. What do you say? Now that we have gone through two renovations in our house, we’ve been able to participate in such discussions. But in front of our single friends, we make it into a joke. So they will laugh and not feel alienated.
Getting back to the poem. Which I cannot find. I created this character called the “Alienation Beast.” This beast crops up every now and then when I am in crowds of people. You may have met this creature yourself! My mother, z”l (may her memory be a blessing) used to say “lonely in a crowd.” It’s sort of like that. But a beast is much more of a vivid description for me.
I decided to add a new category to my blog called “trying to connect.” Because that’s basically what this is all about. And I imagine I will talk about the “Alienation Beast” in future posts, the same as I talk about “Nutrition Nerd” in food and health posts.
Once you have children, it is easier to make connections in suburbia. Many of our friends here seem to have a son the same age as my middle son. With the parents of my daughter’s classmates, it is a stretch at times. We are both in our mid-forties. Many of the parents in my daughter’s grade seem to be in their twenties? My guess is there is a cultural gap, too; we went to a class on the poet and “anti-philosopher” Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi last night…these parents talk about shopping at Nordstrom and who they know from Brooklyn…OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little to make a point.