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Old 09-28-2009, 07:03 PM
 
3,320 posts, read 4,702,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milwaukee Ronnie View Post
The last party I went to in Madison sums it up, for me, anyway.

Everyone at the party was a government employee in one way or another, whether working in academia or state government.

As I floated around the room mingling, here's a sampling of the conversations I partook in:

- One woman told about how she knows exactly which houses in her neighborhood had Bush/Cheney signs in their yards back in '04.

- One lady was moving into a co-operative housing arrangement, lecturing me (and whomever else would listen) on the environmental benefits of communal living. She said the big the project the co-op was embarking on was an underground parking garage, which everyone had voted unanamously for. I couldn't resist. I asked "wouldn't it be better for the environment to have no parking garage?"

- One guy recounted in detail how he commutes to work without a car. I learned that a bus trip "all the way across town" in Madison takes about an hour.

- Apparently there is a very well known newspaper columnist, published frequently in the New York Times, who resides in Madison.

- One of the hosts of the party "hardly ever drives" but evidently drove that one day for some reason, which was a mistake. Because the Badgers were playing and the traffic "was horrendous."

Friendly? Sure. I had a good time drinking fine wine with these people that night. But it reminded me once again why I'm glad I don't live in Madison anymore.
Blaa I think I would have more fun watching paint dry than attending that party Fine wine or not.
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nala8 View Post
Many Madisonians are friendly, but after three weeks or so of being back in Madison I have also come across many people who are fearful, reactive, touchy, and pretentious. Iow, I haven't got a fix on the vibe of the whole city. So far, I just think that people are people, in any city. You will find all types. I must admit though that for a city that prides itself on being so liberal or progressive, the majority of the people I have encountered are very conservative. If you fit in, you will find friendliness. If you don't, you will find fearful standoffishness, until they get to know you.
Good luck to you in finding your niche, as I know you had been looking forward to the move. Hope you're not regretting it. I get reactive, touchy and pretentious, but what are you finding people to be fearful of?
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:51 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Pkwy (da Bronx)
966 posts, read 2,040,497 times
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Originally Posted by gold*dust1 View Post
Good luck to you in finding your niche, as I know you had been looking forward to the move. Hope you're not regretting it. I get reactive, touchy and pretentious, but what are you finding people to be fearful of?
Hey again. Thanks for the good wishes.

To answer your question, mostly I have come across people who seem fearful because of my race, or whatever assumptions they harbor about Black people. Luckily, in most cases, they calm down if I don't become reactive in return or if I just continue being myself. For instance, the first time I decided to sit out on the porch of my new apartment building, a neighbor came flying out of her apartment and onto the porch demanding to know if I lived there. After missing a beat or two, I just simply answered her question and introduced myself to her. She hasn't been much of a problem since then, but she gives me the creeps--staring at me, getting nervous around me, acting as if I am from the Planet Zaytar. lol. Thank goodness she is outnumbered by the neighbors who have been friendly and welcoming.

Another thing that some (not all) Madisonians seem to fear about me is that I am very socially outgoing and talkative. So weird. In New York City, I would be considered to be pretty alive and vibrant, but not overbearing or too much for them. This past three weeks or so, going on a month, I have had to find a way to tone it down a bit while not selling out on myself or being someone or something I am not. Most people have told me that they like my positive energy, and many of the students I work with have found that they feel calm, happy, and creative with me. Go figure. I guess I just have to find my own happy medium.

Oh well, there is still something about Madison that I love. It is so beautiful here. There have been some nights I have regretted coming back here, but mostly I have no regrets. I am so busy writing, composing, enjoying myself, working, looking for more work, and hopefully finding a cafe where I can start hosting an open mic series that I don't spend too much time focusing on negative or reactive people. That would be counterproductive, especially since, as I have said before, in any city you will find all kinds of people. Besides, thirteen years of living in New York City have taught me that if you focus too much in return on fearful people, you wind up confirming their fears or their fearful misbeliefs. Unless they are standing in your way, it's best to just "keep it moving," as they say in the Big Apple.

Last edited by Nala8; 09-28-2009 at 08:12 PM..
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:09 PM
 
3,320 posts, read 4,702,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nala8 View Post
Hey again. Thanks for the good wishes.

To answer your question, mostly I have come across people who seem fearful because of my race, or whatever assumptions they harbor about Black people. Luckily, in most cases, they calm down if I don't become reactive in return or if I just continue being myself. For instance, the first time I decided to sit out on the porch of my new apartment building, a neighbor came flying out of her apartment and onto the porch demanding to know if I lived there. After missing a beat or two, I just simply answered her question and introduced myself to her. She hasn't been much of a problem since then, but she gives me the creeps--staring at me, getting nervous around me, acting as if I am from the Planet Zaytar. lol. Thank goodness she is outnumbered by the neighbors who have been friendly and welcoming.

Another thing that some (not all) Madisonians seem to fear about me is that I am very socially outgoing and talkative. So weird. In New York City, I would be considered to be pretty alive and vibrant, but not overbearing or too much for them. This past three weeks or so, going on a month, I have had to find a way to tone it down a bit while not selling out on myself or being someone or something I am not.

Oh well, there is still something about Madison that I love. There have been some nights I have regretted coming back here, but mostly I have no regrets. I am so busy writing, composing, working, and looking for more work and hopefully a cafe where I can start hosting an open mic series that I don't spend too much time focusing on negative or reactive people. That would be counterproductive, especially since, as I have said before, in any city you will find all kinds of people.
Sorry to hear about the rude neighbor regarding the porch Don't feel like it's just you on being too outgoing...I have gotten that before when I am in a talkative outspoken mood and people can be real dead pan and almost like they don't get it. They will initiate conversation and then when you come back with something you think will be seen as amusing it's like huh??
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Pkwy (da Bronx)
966 posts, read 2,040,497 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gold*dust1 View Post
Sorry to hear about the rude neighbor regarding the porch Don't feel like it's just you on being too outgoing...I have gotten that before when I am in a talkative outspoken mood and people can be real dead pan and almost like they don't get it. They will initiate conversation and then when you come back with something you think will be seen as amusing it's like huh??
Hehehe... Exactly. Or they become inexplicably snarky or rude. Ai yai yai... It's as if they didn't expect you to have a working or viable thought in your head or the words to express it. Sometimes these moments are funny. Good material for long-distance standup comedy routines on the telephone with loved ones. But every now and then I go home thinking, "Oh no. Why did I come here?" Then I gaze out over Lake Monona or Lake Mendota or that gorgeous half-moon in the sky right now, relax, and sigh. Or I get chatted up by some cool and friendly people, and I am reminded that all is well. Let people be people...yadda yadda.

Last edited by Nala8; 09-28-2009 at 08:51 PM..
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:32 PM
 
3,320 posts, read 4,702,383 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nala8 View Post
Hehehe... Exactly. Or they become inexplicably snarky or rude. Ai yai yai... It's as if they didn't expect you to have a working or viable thought in your head or the words to express it. Sometimes these moments are funny. Good material for long-distance standup comedy routines on the telephone with loved ones. But every now and then I go home thinking, "Oh no. Why did come here?" Then I gaze out over Lake Monona or Lake Mendota or that gorgeous half-moon in the sky right now, relax, and sigh. Or I get chatted up by some cool and friendly people, and I am reminded that all is well. Let people be people...yadda yadda.
Very well put...thx I think I would find "them" anywhere.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Madison, WI
1,734 posts, read 4,616,250 times
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I'm so sorry that people have behaved like that toward you. "Porch Woman" was just bizarre. I'd be curious to hear what the rest of the tenants think of her. :>

You've got a good attitude and I hope you can hold onto it.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:02 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Pkwy (da Bronx)
966 posts, read 2,040,497 times
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Originally Posted by Megan1967 View Post
I'm so sorry that people have behaved like that toward you. "Porch Woman" was just bizarre. I'd be curious to hear what the rest of the tenants think of her. :>

You've got a good attitude and I hope you can hold onto it.
lol. So funny... Come to think of it I was subtly warned about "Porch Woman" when I first came to the building. One of the other tenants had a weird ominous vibe in his voice, and gave me lots of heavy eye contact, when he told me that there was one other older woman in the building, after I had joked that I would probably be the oldest person in the building. He was too cool to say anything about her openly. I appreciate that. Gossip sucks. Still, I think he did try to warn me.

(Hehehe... This is starting to sound like one of those netflix suspense thrillers I love watching on Saturday afternoons. Nice unsuspecting newcomer moves into a beautiful new apartment in a lovely neighborhood, only to discover that her downstairs neighbor... Uh-oh... Then the "fun" begins.)

Megan, I am determined to keep a positive attitude and a sense of humor about it all.

Thanks so much for your post.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 86,797,403 times
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So wait -- you were forewarned that there's a crazy lady in your building but yet you attribute her craziness toward you to racism? This doesn't make sense.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:08 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Pkwy (da Bronx)
966 posts, read 2,040,497 times
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Originally Posted by Drover View Post
So wait -- you were forewarned that there's a crazy lady in your building but yet you attribute her craziness toward you to racism? This doesn't make sense.
Drover, one does not preclude the other. No way to prove it, in any case. You are free to draw your own conclusions, of course. I have learned that it is best not to argue about these things.

In a similar vein, and yet on a more positive note, another neighbor lady, who is struggling with Alzheimer's, admitted to me that she snubbed me the first time she met me because I am Black and she once had some kind of fight or altercation with another Black woman in the past. At first I was taken aback when she stopped me and said to me out of the blue one day, "Hey. You're nice." Emphasis on nice. So, I stopped and heard her out. Something in her voice touched me. I told her that she has my sympathy, that what happened to her was sad but that it was over. I told her my name, and we've been chatting ever since.

Having grown up on Air Force bases, and having spent most of my years in multicultural settings, I have friends, students, and colleagues from all over the world. Admittedly, race is not always the issue, certainly not the only issue, but when it is an issue it is not healthy to deny it.

Last edited by Nala8; 09-28-2009 at 09:25 PM..
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