Introducing: Hendersonville Yard Sales page (HSY)

YOU. GUYS. I belong to this group on Facebook called “Hendersonville Yard Sales,” (HSY) which is basically like Craigslist for our small town (we’re too small to have an actual Craigslist page – true story). Here’s the thing, if you’ve ever searched through Craigslist, you know that typically there are some bizarre ads up there, not to mention atrocious spelling & grammar, and sometimes you wonder, “what kind of people respond to these?” The beauty of a Facebook page, is that you can actually see these people. You can read every comment, you can see photos of every person posting, which makes this the most entertaining thing to come out of Facebook. Ever. Every struggle I have ever gone through in this move was worth it, since it all led me to join this page. Where I can see gems like this:

Puppy ransom

Is this guy selling a puppy or holding it ransom? By the way – NOT ONE of the ELEVEN comments referenced the fact that this photo looks like a terrorist situation. Unless it is a terrorist hold-up, in which case I probably shouldn’t be making fun of it on the internet. Except that if all you’ve got as a hostage is a puppy, you’re probably doing it wrong. OR – someone caught up to the fact that while no one cares when a person dies in a movie, they ALWAYS freak out when the dog dies. So maybe this guy is actually a genius. But for now, I’m gonna go with “probably not” on that one.

BTW – you can try to join the page, but there’s a wait list. Yeah, exactly. Screw your big-city clubs, this is the place everyone actually wants to be.

This is why people have children

Since moving back to this small town I have joined a women’s club in an effort to “engage with the community.” But really, I only joined in hopes that I would meet someone my age who didn’t have children, which I accomplished at the first meeting. Since then, I have come to believe that these clubs exist just so women can stand in a room and one-up each other with who has the busiest schedule. First, the career women will lament their deadlines or clients in a slow build of one-upsmanship that builds as each working woman comes in late, demanding a glass of wine in rising levels of exasperation.

Children, of course, outweigh any job, and mothers are in a different bracket all together. Those with children in school are slightly lower on the totem poll, since hey, they have days free, right? However, your rank will go up if your kids are old enough to be enrolled in 20 different activities per week, but are still too young to drive. Kids under 6 months of age are a trump card. The mere reference of a 6-week baby is enough to evoke gasps and sympathetic faces from everyone within earshot. Game over.

There is of course a purpose to all this, beyond the general feelings of superiority that must be felt by those that are “doing more” to hold their schedules together. Our club purportedly benefits the community with our good works, which means that at some point, someone actually has to do work. Your ranking in this pecking order is what will establish the level of participation you will be required to put in. Which is why I and the only other childless member found ourselves wrapping a large pile of Christmas gifts for needy children by ourselves yesterday afternoon. It is also why I found myself halfway through a bottle of wine before 5 PM. Of course, the moment we began finishing up the other club members finally showed up with excuses ranging from pushy clients, to a son’s basketball practice to a crying baby.

If I end up pregnant in the next year, it won’t be due to a pull towards motherhood. It’s because I need an excuse to get out of this shit in the future.

The Married Girl’s Dating Scene

I have not been in the dating pool since I was a teenager, when pairing off was more like a gravitational pull then the strategic chess match that my single friends describe. However, I have been reintroduced to it while trying to make friends in a small town. Until now, I have never considered friendships to be a scarce commodity. I had more social obligations than I could keep up with, and constant guilt from neglecting those second-tier friends that asked for my time. I’m not saying that I was super popular or anything, it’s just that when you’re in college and/or living in a huge city, it’s almost impossible not to meet people that you instantly connect to and consider part of your clan. So really, who cared if I went to a party and made a bad impression and some bitch didn’t like me? I’d meet someone cooler and more fun the next week anyway.

Small towns are not this way. When we moved here, my list of qualities for potential friends included: young (under 35), cool, childless, liberal leanings preferred, great sense of humor, being gay is a bonus. 10 months in, and I’ve pretty much abandoned everything on this list. The childless thing was the first quality to go,  since apparently the only reason people below the age of 50 move here is to raise children. Now, my list of qualities has expanded to: must be young (under 45), have a sense of humor (or at least won’t get offended at my jokes), must not be a homophobic redneck and/or a member of the Tea Party.  In Hendersonville, these qualifications narrow the field down to approximately 10 people.

So on those few occasions when I actually come in contact with someone I would consider as a potential friend, I feel the nervous butterflies that most people probably feel on a first date, especially after those first pangs of desperation have begun to set into their soul. I mean, there are only a few people left to meet in this town, so DON’T BLOW IT. There is a careful selection of what to wear (I want to look cute, but not like I’m trying too hard), what to serve, how far should I go with my jokes, etc. It’s nerve-wracking. And then, after our date or get-together or whatever, I can’t help but go over everything in my head that I said and wish I could take back.

All I want is for it to be like the old days: you go to someone’s house, have a few drinks, make inappropriate jokes and form lasting bonds with the people who laugh. And then you live happily ever after, until next week’s party…

I want to go where nobody knows my name

Yesterday I went to a workout class with my Aunt Sara, who of course was kind enough to introduce me to every woman that was standing next to, in front of, and behind me. This was all well and good until about fifteen minutes into class when I realized that I had a wedgie and really, really needed to pick it except that now all of these women know me. So no matter which way I turn the person who saw me pick the wedgie would know my name and who my parents are and they would judge me. And let’s be clear, even in a town as small as Hendersonville I wouldn’t expect them to run off and tell anyone that they saw some girl pick a wedgie in gym class, but whenever I saw them again I would know that they know that I did that and it would be awkward. At least for me.

Remember this when you’re in a workout class and you try to say hi to the girl next to you and she acts uninterested in becoming friends: She’s not a bitch, she just wants to pick her wedgies in the open and not have to speak to you when she sees you in the grocery store.

This only happens in small towns

While hiking recently, my friend Mary told me a story about her parents that was so hilarious that I A) was laughing so hard I had to stop walking B) Felt I had to share with you all.

Mary’s parents are new to drinking in public. Meaning that until recently they viewed drinking as a shameful activity that shouldn’t be done in places where they could be seen by people they know. In the past this caused them travel to neighboring cities to go to beer festivals where they only drank  a couple Yuenglings before heading back home. (For those who aren’t familiar, Yuengling is a beer that is so common in North Carolina you can buy it at any gas station. There is no reason to drive more than half a mile to get one and why it is even served at a beer festival is beyond me.) Recently Mary’s parents came out of the drinking closet and decided it would be great fun to enjoy a beer before seeing  a movie. So far I’m in total agreement with this plan, except that I only have cocktails after movies, because otherwise I spend half the film getting up for pee breaks. Fact: when I know I’m to the movie theater I try to arrive slightly parched so I can sit and watch, undisturbed by my bladder.

Back to my story – Mary’s parents’ plan for beer before a movie sounds great except for the fact that the town mall with all the restaurants is on one side of a busy street, and the movie theater is on the other side. They refused to go to the restaurants across the street because then they would be drinking and driving (!) afterward. I asked Mary why they couldn’t just walk across the street, and she said it just wasn’t something they do. This goes to the small town mentality that big busy streets are scary places that can only be traveled by car. Also, how drunk are these two really planning on getting before they go to a movie? I mean…I’m pretty sure that most people should be able to drive across the street after one beer.

This was all turning out to be quite a conundrum until Mary’s mother realized that a Chuck-E-Cheese was right next door to the theater. Yes, exactly. They decided they would go to Chuck-E-Cheese for their pre-movie cocktails. At this point I interrupted Mary’ story to ask if Chuck-E-Cheese even served alcohol. “Oh yeah, my mom even called ahead to find out.” Think about that for a second. The whole Chuck-E-Cheese decision was not a crime of passion and opportunity, but a pre-meditated decision.

So, these two wild and crazy parents go to Chuck-E-Cheese to have their adult beverages and get up to the drink counter in front of a long line of parents that you know, actually had children with them, and ask for two beers. And the teenage clerk is like, “Beer?” because apparently even he wasn’t even aware they served alcohol at Chuck-E-Cheese. So then all of these parents who are waiting to get food and drinks for their, you know, CHILDREN, are having to wait while the staff of Chuck-E-Cheese determine that yes, they do serve beer,  locate where it’s kept under lock and key, locate the key, unlock it and bring out what I’m sure were two incredibly old Bud lights to serve to Mary’s parents.

And then – Mary’s parents take their beers and enjoy them in the wonderful setting of…Chuck-E-Cheese… which if you’ve never been, pretty much consists of kids running around screaming and playing loud video games so they win tickets which they use to buy cheap crappy toys that their parents could just go buy them for a fraction of what they spent in tokens for the games, but that would obviously be less fun. Oh, and all the while the kids are running back and forth from the game to their table where they get loaded up on bad pizza and soda. The parents are doing…I’m not sure what. Now that I think of it I’m not sure why they don’t serve more alcohol there.

I guess that Mary’s parents had a successful night in the end. Although I do find it striking that the same people who used to be embarrassed to drink at all in public now find nothing wrong with going to Chuck-E-Cheese for the sole purpose of ordering beer. Cause you know, two adults getting inebriated in Chuck-E-Cheese voluntarily without a child doesn’t seem the slightest bit strange/weird/creepy at all.