Are you at the right bus stop?
We moved in 2006, only a couple of miles away, but to what felt like a completely different neighborhood. My son was in kindergarten and I remember waiting at the bus stop with him and a bevy of other kids and their parents or caretakers.
No one said hello to me or my wife. It was weird, so I waited. October. November. Nothing. It wasn’t done out of malice but it just seemed weird – no one in our neighborhood really hung out and after hearing from our new neighbors how amazing the people were who had previously lived in our house, well, i guess you can say it was a let down.
It got to the point when I would joke with my wife that I was going to take out my phone and pretend to have conversations to see if I could get their attention with things that would never even come close to who were were: “yeah, babe…the wife went to work, why don’t you pop over in 10 and wear that red piece you know I like so much.” or “I told you where to put the body! Do I stutter!”. For the sake of my family, I refrained and kept my thoughts as just that – thoughts.
Then, i started showing up to my son’s school events. I was the only dad and the well made-up mothers just pretended I wasn’t there. I tried not to take the whole thing personally. I had this nagging feeling of not belonging, of just walking into a room and automatically knowing I didn’t fit in. This is something I hadn’t had for the most part up until my kids started to go to school. It felt uncomfortably familiar…but from where?
Oh, that’s right! High school.
Simply put, there are some people that naturally fit in and there are others who, well, let’s just say we maneuver our way through the awkwardness as best as possible. It was interesting because in other situations, I did not feel this way at all. Obviously, being with good friends or family where I could just be me was a no brainer. It occurred to me that I just wasn’t at the right “bus stop”.
The truth of the matter is that people congregate in areas with like-minded people. I am not a suburbs sort of guy. Don’t get me wrong, I like the suburbs. I am incredibly grateful for the few good friends I have made over the many years here, not to mention the great education – you know, you get the picture…basically all the stuff the realtors describe to you when explaining why your taxes are 20-30% higher than the house 3 miles away from you. But that being said, it can get pretty homogenous.
Perhaps it was just that I was now living in a sea of other parents in my age group and fitting in meant finding common ground. That’s not fair to everyone else. The truth is this is how I have always been – my interests are different and weirder than the norm and that’s ok. No one cares and I shouldn’t either. But to be happy, I did need to “change my bus stop” or in this case, create a new “bus stop”, which is why I started producing a local comedy show and getting the word out and not being ashamed.
It doesn’t shock me anymore but I still am surprised when people come up to me and not only say “I had no idea you were a comedian” but then I get that comment where it was the last thing they think I would do. We are all multidimensional people. Some of us just have the common sense to save a few dimensions for the privacy of our own 4 walls. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.
So, if you feel like your “bus stop” may not be a good fit, find one that will or try and create your own. You may be surprised – you may even get to sit in the back of the bus with the cool kids!
Until next time,