I moved here for the weather. I love the dry, sunny climate of SE Washington and loathe the soggy-sock, moldy window-sill climate of Puget Sound. So in my first month as new kid in town, when I made small talk with folks in Walla Walla , I always mentioned my appreciation for the local weather. More than half of them would warn me of the dense, suffocating fog that comes in November. I wasn’t concerned.
November 1 provided my first opportunity for friend-making at a fundraiser event–a wine auction at the Marcus Whitman. I moved here knowing only one person well, and having very few acquaintances. I paid more than I could afford for a ticket to this posh affair, going solo and defending my splurge with the potential for networking and meeting women who shared my interests. I am an introvert who is pretty good at faking social skills when I have a purpose, such as in a professional setting. But my desire to make new friends wasn’t enough to empower me that night. Unfortunately all the women were already in cliques or just with their significant other, and even the folks assigned to my table wouldn’t respond to my attempts at conversation. I left with no new acquaintances and decided that the Walla Walla fog I’d been warned of was akin to the “Seattle Freeze” and not the meteorological condition. The social strata are cleanly defined in Walla Walla. I was among the powerful majority in Olympia: a middle-class state worker. Here I find that those people in the service industry are the friendliest on the planet, but the more affluent folks are on a different plane.
I spent a few weeks wondering whether this move would really improve my winter depression. On one hand, I was supercharged by the sunshine. On the other hand, I had no friends. Although my boyfriend is all the best rolled into one, I still miss the female camaraderie I had back in Olympia.
I traveled back for a week at Thanksgiving and enjoyed my old girlfriends one by one. I realized that I am well-loved by a variety of strong, smart, quirky women, many of whom didn’t know me 10 years ago, and some of whom have known me since elementary school. Their admiration, interest, affection, and warmth made me feel like a cherished prize.
I can do this again. I am inspired by my history of successful friend-making and motivated to forge a new pack in Walla Walla. I just have to be patient. And leave my living room once in awhile.