It's easy to meet people these days. All you need is a stroller, preferably with a baby in it. But in Toronto, that's an optional extra. Here, pretty much anything goes, and no one bats an eyelid. Ever since LGO came on to the scene and I moved back to (Canuckian) soil, my social life has picked up enormously. That has to be a paradox, right? Sure, the highlight of most evenings with the little one asleep upstairs, consists of a long bath and/or curling up on the sofa with Mr Green to watch Mad Men or -- if that isn't quite bleak enough for our tastes -- Durham County, which is about as bleak as it gets. My daytimes, on the other hand, are booming with play dates and park meets, through which I've met some true kindreds I likely wouldn't have met otherwise. On the flip side, I've also met countless other women, women with whom the only commonality is possession of a birth canal through which something so huge travelled, it defied the laws of gravity and sanity to do so.
But I'm digressing... Lately my black book is teeming with phone numbers and emails from such chance encounters. It's like dating, except I was never the type to own a Rolodex. It's like being a lesbian, without the lesbianism. I'll come home and Mr G will say, just to make me feel cheap: 'So, who did you pick up in the park today?' But I know deep down he's just jealous (and secretly hoping for said lesbianism). Really, it's all too easy talking to strangers. I'd even go so far as to say it's an occupational hazard of the stay-at-home mom.
Sometimes, though, the easy camaraderie can backfire. As in back draft. Usually it starts (and often, mercifully, ends) by the swings. You and Stranger Mommy exchange dull factoids, such as your tots' respective names and ages. Other times she'll avoid pleasantries altogether, and dive straight for the jugular, telling you in the blink of a weepy eye about her many miscarriages. Or worse. You'll get to talking about teething and what products you use to help little one cope. Innocuous enough, you say. Next thing you now Stranger Mommy starts telling you how her ex used to apply the tingly, mildly numbing stuff to his doo-dah "so he could last longer". Oral Gel. I'll never think of it the same way, and now you won't, either. So there.
For all the weirdness, I love these chance encounters with fellow moms. I love the sisterly fraternizing that very occasionally develops into real friendships. Lately, I have been urging Mr Green to take LGO out on a Saturday morning, to court some dads. After all, if babies are proven chick magnets, no doubt they must also be d*ck magnets. And in the bizarre and uncompromising land that is parenthood, one thing is for sure: you need all the friends you can get.