Re: "Weirdos"
From: Kay Argyle (
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 11:39:51 -0700 (MST)
Sometimes the diversity that's most difficult isn't the kind you can put a
label on.

I joined cohousing because I'm _not_ social.  I'm skittish around
strangers.  I take a long time to feel comfortable with someone.  I find
parties exhausting, I miss social cues, I'm easily snubbed, I turn
aggressive when I feel threatened, I need a lot of privacy and time alone. 
Over it all I've got this misleading gloss of friendly self-confidence. 
I'm great at pseudo-community (see Scott Peck's book A Different Drum). 
Real community is a struggle.  

I need the structure of my life to provide built-in interaction and time to
get to know and trust people.

I'm not looking for a bunch of people just like me.  I'm looking for people
who aren't bothered by the fact that I'm not just like them.  I seek
community because I want to find a place where I can "not fit in" and
that's okay.

As has been pointed out, most cohousing people have a high tolerance for
meetings and are process-oriented (sometimes to the point that process
seems valued above outcome).  Most are optimists and dreamers (nobody ever
built a better life without a dream as a blueprint).

We have a member who is highly goal-oriented, frustrated by process, and
always plans for the worst-case.  She joined because she values working
together, sharing resources, and having neighbors who care enough to check
when something seems wrong.  She puts in long hours on community projects,
is generous with her money and belongings, and frequently knows before
anyone else that someone is unhappy and why.  She is presently refusing to
attend meetings (I'll spare you the history of how that came about).  A
number of members get so stressed out by her what-if disaster scenarios
that they don't want to listen to her anyway.

A few people are concerned about her "participation," lumping her in with
residents who do nothing, as though attending meetings is what counts and
working is irrelevant.  She gives our community a diversity that some of
the members can't handle.  Does that mean she doesn't belong in community?

Kay Argyle
Wasatch Commons

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