Since moving to Newstead I’ve been given a variety of time frames in which I will be accepted a local; two years, five, ten…NEVER! Until my number comes up, I’m like so many of you, nothing but a bloody blow-in. Am I offended? No, of course not. Am I paranoid every time I walk into my local pub and get the feeling that every barfly is secretly chanting ‘wanker’ under their breath? Hell yes!
I moved to the country to have a nice, pleasant, better quality life, to raise my frightfully intense offspring in the serenity of the bush. I didn’t take into account what the locals might have to say about that. I just assumed it would all be cheery ‘hellos’ and ‘top-of-the-mornins.’ It sends me into a panic whenever I see a true local walking in my direction. It’s ridiculous I know, but my fear that when I say hello I won’t get a reply, just a stone cold glare, is so extreme that I think, why take the risk?
I thought of joining a local club or group. I’ve heard of scrapbooking but I have no idea what happens at such get-togethers. I imagine it’s like being back in grade prep; lots of Clag, New Idea and glitter. I considered joining the Spinners group, but I’m haunted by the story of Rumpelstiltskin and the girl who is locked in a tower and threatened with having all her hair cut off unless she spins straw into gold. I keep promising the local personal trainer Dawn that I’ll make it to one of her group boxing sessions on a Monday night, but who am I kidding? I didn’t like sport back in the city so why would I want to start knocking someone’s block off now?
Paul’s got the whole ‘How’s it gaaaarn?’ down pat as well as the finger pointy thing that happens when he’s driving and a car passes him in the opposite direction. I’m always asking if he knows the person in the other vehicle, nine times out of ten he doesn’t, his excuses are: it’s the same car as his, the car looks similar to Ol’ Mate down the road or it’s just what you do out in the country. Pardon my ignorance.
Having a child has helped with making new acquaintances and feeling a little more at ease in my not-so-natural surrounds. The gals at my local supermarché are always happy to have a little chat with the poppet as I scan the aisles for Tim Tams and other emotional eating produce. All the life guards at the pool know her as I’m the bad mum who never has her child within arm’s reach (she’s too fast for me and I don’t like to run).
It seems that breaking the ice is hard to do at the pub. There’s no Cheers vibes here, where everyone knows MY NAME, nobodies even asked! There is always one local who will completely blank me as I say hello to the crowd. Perhaps they’re just half cut or stunned that someone has even made an effort to acknowledge their existence. I do however think that perhaps the only way around the issue is to do what one of the drag queens in Pricilla did and drink an old sweaty local under the table or tell them to light their tampon on fire. The latter is sure to go down a treat right?
I just want to be a freakin’ local! I’m really good at gossip, I can bake a mean vegetable pie and I love my chickens. Plus I wear Blunnies 80% of the year and I went to a pony club camp once when I was ten.
Gaaaarn, give this sheila a crack!