Sunday, 29 May 2016

THE 'OUTSIDER'...



was looking at a photo of where I used to live back in the mid-'60s and early '70s, comparing the field where I used to play across from my house with how it looks today (see here) and a memory jumped into my mind.  Which was that, on the evening of the flitting, after settling into our new home, I made my way back along to that field.

It was almost an instinct.  After all, I didn't know anyone in our new neighbourhood, so it felt only natural to continue the habit of nearly seven years and seek out the environs that were familiar to me.  As I entered the field, a group of local kids sitting in a far corner, turned and saw me approaching them.  "What are you doing here?" one of them asked in an unwelcoming tone.

I didn't understand their sullen coldness towards me then, but I think I do now.  We hadn't informed any of our neighbours of our intention to move, so it would have been a surprise to them on the day.  Maybe our moving was regarded as a betrayal of sorts, an abandonment of the area and those who lived there - as if we'd thought we were too good for the place and turned our backs on it.

In only a few short hours the locals now viewed me as no longer belonging there, but it was yet too early for me to feel part of our new neighbourhood - leaving me in a kind of limbo as far as 'district identity' goes.  Luckily, I didn't feel too displaced, as our new residence sat atop a hill just as our old one had done, so the general impression of the topography was similar in some ways, which doubtless helped me adjust to the new locale.

I've never quite forgotten just how quick people can be to shut others out of a group at the drop of a hat and consider them 'outsiders'.  Luckily, I've never had a 'gang' mentality, so it didn't much bother me that I was no longer regarded as one of 'the lads'.  Still, like I said - I've never quite forgotten. 

2 comments:

Paul McScotty- Muir said...

I had a similar situation when I was a kid - my family moved house several times but only moving about 4- 5 miles each time so it was a new area but so close to where I used to stay. One move occurred when I was moving from Primary school to Secondary (we moved from Rutherglen to Blantyre for those that know the area - not that far) anyway I had some very good friends but when we moved we also went on holiday just afterwards so I (my fault) failed to keep in contact with my pals for the first month (we did that in those days by letter as one mate didn't have a phone) anyway when I got back it was almost time to start the new school so I thought I'll say hi to them when we meet up - anyway that didn't happen for a week (the first week used up by trying to avoid getting "ducked" and the shock of the new) - when I eventually managed to say "hi" we all seemed so different in that 6 - 8 week spell like we had all changed and my "pals all but ignored me - I was never sure if it was due to me not contacting them, us growing up, the move making a bigger change of location than I though or we were never as close as I thought - I never really saw them again after that and was always a bit sad about that.

Kid said...

It's a strange one, isn't it? I suspect there's something about a group mentality that, whatever the reason for someone becoming 'separated' from the group (for whatever length of time), the others just seem to fill the space vacated by that person, leaving no room for them to get back in at a later date. In my case it was mere hours, in yours a bit longer, but it's still a curious thing.

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