Ugh. Yesterday was...freaky. Went to the food centre in the morning and all was well and good; we made apple puree for jams and then scrubbed the drains with toothbrushes. Magdalena, the co-worker in charge of the food centre (she's so nice) said she felt like the mean orphanage lady in Annie. When I was walking back I ran into Midgley, one of the villagers. He is always smiling and says hello to everyone and everything, and he greeted me and since we were walking in the same direction he stuck out his hand and asked me to hold his hand. I thought, "Okay, this guy is like...a grandpa. No problem." So then we were walking along holding hands, and I was a little uncomfortable but ignored it. Then we ran into a whole bunch of villagers coming the other direction on the path, including Beth, who is very loud and shrill. Beth exclaimed, "Oh! Are you boyfriend and girlfriend!?" And I thought: "Shit."
After being at Westtown for four years, I understand how small communities work. Gossip is rampant. Hell, we talk about villagers and co-workers at the dinner table! So I thought, "Great, this is what I need. For all the villagers to think I'm Midgley." I think I should have been more assertive, but I just shook my head and said, "No no we're just friends--friends can hold hands too!" All the villagers cackled as we walked away.
Then we ran into this french guy who lives in my neighborhood walking his bicycle. He talks a lot and I hadn't interacted with him a whole lot but he seemed nice and almost 'normal' sometimes. So the three of us walked together until Midgley had to go left and we had to go straight. He let go of my hand and we waved goodbye. I thought, "thank God that's over with," and just then, the french guy grabs my hand. I was like ARE YOU KIDDING ME but instead I said, "Aren't you going to ride your bike?" He said no, he was going to walk beside it. So I tried other tactics. Tim, if you're reading this, I have to admit I used you! I went on and on about my boyfriend back in America who I miss very much and it totally worked cuz he let go of my hand. Which sort of leads one to believe he was hitting on me and then realized I was unavailable or something. So then we were just walking and chatting and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, and drop it did. When we got to Trefoil, his house, I moved toward Bracken and he moved toward me so I thought okay, he wants a hug. Most of the villagers very much enjoy being hugged; it gives them a sense of security and assurance. Aaaand then he kissed my cheek. Part of me thought "AHHHH WHAT THE FUCK THATS MY PERSONAL BUBBLE" but the other part of me thought, "Naw, he's just french and maybe thats how he says goodbye to everyone." I mean, one time Anthony kissed me on the cheek to apologize for yelling at me and he told me how much he liked me, but since then he's treated me like he's an old guy and I'm a little girl he's very fond of, like a granddaughter or something.
I could be paranoid. I didn't want to talk to anyone about it, I was too shaken up and a little embarassed in case I was overreacting. But in the afternoon I told Louis about it and he was sort of shocked/worried and told me that next time I just need to be more assertive and say that I need my personal space. One of the reasons I could be paranoid though is because Paule told me a few days ago about one of the villagers who has hit on several of the young co-workers and even sent them pornographic love letters. So I'm actively avoiding that guy.
But it's very awkward and tonight we have these group meeting things and the french guy is in my group and I really don't want to see him...although it could also be an opportunity to be someone reserved and standoffish and maybe he wont bother me.
Tonight is also Mycha's gathering, which is less a party and more just a few people hanging out and watching a movie, which is really better than a party. I made her the best mixed CD ever. I think. I have no idea what kind of music she listens to, so she might not like it at all, but it's the thought that counts of course.
Oh and tomorrow I'm going into Whitby (finally!)...with some guy I met at the coffee bar. I know--so unlike me! He worked here for a year and he's back visiting for two days, and he has a car and invited me to go with him for the day. He seemed really nice and several people in the coffee bar knew him, so I dont think he's a psycho killer or anything. I'm glad to be getting out of here for a bit, and I hope to find a store in Whitby that contains posters or pictures or something I can put on my walls so my room doesn't look so drab.