There is a housing community not far from where we live. It is one of those communities that exist in this part of N. Carolina for people who want to live in a rural setting but they don't want to feel like they are living in a rural setting. It would be like taking our old neighborhood in Cupertino and airlifting the whole thing to N. Carolina and setting it down. They cleared out all the trees (no small feat) and all the houses are very very close together - think San Francisco close and then throw in a foot or two.
When we were house hunting we stopped there to visit the community and see what it was like. The girls said it was like the movie The Lorax because they had bulldozed all the trees and there were only bare open spaces. I loved the brand new homes and the open floorplan and how modern they were until I looked out the window and could read what the man next door was reading on his Blackberry as he stood outside in his yard, shirtless, smoking a cigarette.
I went walking the other day with a friend who lives in this area and we strolled past a community garden and I commented on how lovely it was and did she have a little plot in the garden? She launched into how there is a gardening group and you have to be a member and it is tight knit and you have to be friends with the gardening group and only a few people have a key to the gate and no one else is allowed. She has lived in the community since it was built practically and she has been shut out of the garden.
I don't know what makes us do this. I find it more common with women than men but too many times I hear that women have formed a group and the group won't include others and this woman is excluded because of something she said or because she is friends with another woman or because the kids had a playdate and didn't get along. It is really quite foolish and it annoys me more than anything else. I listen to first grader and fourth grade girls and I know where they learn most of the types of conversation that they have - they learn it from listening to their parents and their parents friends, and then they repeat it.
I remember once hearing a woman discredit two boys that her boys liked to play with because she didn't like their mother. They might as well have been rapists, drunk drivers or convicted felons from the way she attacked the character of a 4 year old and a 6 year old. Needless to say, I was speechless. At first I thought she was joking and then when I realized what she was saying all I could think of was, "Oh My God, how can I get out of here this woman is crazy."
I'm no parenting expert - and yes, parenting does come with books, entire shelves of them at bookstores and libraries. And I know that parents read books about sleeping through the night and feeding the kids the right amount of fruits and vegetables and how to potty train painlessly but why aren't they reading about how to teach their girls to be supportive and kind women? Why aren't they reading the part of the books where Dr. Phil locks them in a room and forces them to admit they are shitty parents and need to go to therapy?
I'm glad I don't live in their community because when someone tells me I can't be part of their group, the first thing I do is I figure out a way to get into it. I do not like being told I can't do something. I do not like not being shut out. And if it means destroying the way they do something and recreating it, that is what I will do. I am woman!