I don’t know them…

I pulled over into the left hand turn lane this morning, and someone pulled in shortly after me. We were in the left lane of two. I found myself looking in the mirror at the car. Who was it?

What a foolish question! I was in Fort Myers Beach where we go every January. The number of tourists in up this year. Yes, the recession is over. Why spend your January up north (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, etc) when you can swim in the Gulf down here in Western Florida? We’re from Connecticut where very shortly we are going to have the Polar Express. And evidently here in Florida too.

I struggled with the feeling that had arisen when I asked that question: Who is it? Why didn’t I know him? Well, perhaps I would have known him if we were on a road in Georgetown, Connecticut where I grew up. Is this a small town question: Who is that? And does it cause a small squirt of anxiety?

I can’t believe I’s so provincial, still in the small town where my Dad’s family had lived for some generations and my mother’s for a generation or two. A place where everyone knew me and my family and asked embarrassing questions, like, “You gonna be a nurse like your sister?” for the fifth time. No, I wanted to snarl. Maybe I did snarl. The woman who asked that question was very stupid. But I belonged. If there was someone I didn’t recognize I just knew it was a New Yorker escaping from the city. No interest to me.

And now I’m living in another village, the cottages where Bernie and I are staying for a month. I started to tell one woman that my son and daughter-in-law were going to come visiting, and before I could end my sentence, she said, “I know.” Like Georgetown, CT and Creamery Brook the air carried the message.

I haven’t answered my question about the squirt of anxiety.


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