I went to Bradford this past weekend to visit my friend Aurelia. I have not seen her since June and we have not had a proper visit in over a year so I felt that this was important for me to do, plus is got me out of the house and made me face my fear of doing stuff I have never done before (aka: take the go bus to Bradford - scary I know)
Anyways I have a friend who lives in Bradford who I also wanted to see, so we invited him over for dinner.
Fine, great, all was well on the Bradford front.
We had a wonderful dinner, with a cheesecake that I had made for desert. We sipped our wine and talked and laughed and it was wonderful.
Then it was sprung on me that Aurelia had bought a raffle ticket to the Lion's Club Beef Dinner. Whooo Hoooo (that is dripping with sarcasm)
Now, I don't know about you but I hate these kinds of things. First off I hate them cause my parents used to make me go to them, secondly I hate them because it is like stepping into a weird version of the twilight zone where you have the Stepford Community and everyone behaves like robots. I hate that. I hate that it is an arena (yes on my first visit I had to go check out the arena) filled with couples who all look and behave the same. I hate that all the teens look the same (I am assuming that the little punks like me found a way to get out of it, or were hiding in some locale that I was yet unawares of) and all behave the same and I hate the fact that I was there.
We walked in, had no intention of eating and as soon as we saw the food had even less intention. I am not really turned on by coleslaw in a great big huge tin tray served to me by either A) some incredibly eager 8 year old who has no idea that there is life outside Bradford, or B) some older woman in a turquoise sweater set who very obviously looked me up and down and then scowled at me. So no food for us. We wandered around, looked at all the raffle prizes, I caught so many people (by people I mean men) staring at Aurelia and then giving me dirty looks for holding her hand (yeah, thats right boys - back off! Shes mine! No fresh meat for you) and so I became defensive and started giving them looks right back. Well, you know when in Rome . . .
So anyways we wandered around, got stared at, got given unapproving looks, didn't eat, the only people who talked to us were drunk, and then we left. I say it took about ten minutes tops.
The thing that really bugs me about this is that I was doing the same thing to them, that they were doing to me. I was making assumptions about the group instead of dealing with them on an individual basis. I felt so boxed in by them. I felt like I was 15 again and that I had no place to go to that was my own. I felt like they were all judging me. And I am sure some of them were, but in retrospect I am thinking that the looking was more because they had never seen Aurelia and I before.
So I apologize to Bradford. I boxed them in, and in return I boxed myself in. They say you can not go home, but apparently you can. I guess the problem with that old adage is that home just moves from one small commmunity to another. Sheesh!