Thursday, March 4, 2010

Living with strangers

Today I realized something. I spend most of my time in homes of people I know little, to nothing, about.

Don't get me wrong, I don't walk into random houses and hang out. Usually these are people that either my friends have worked for, or my various employers know or have some relation to.

I find myself dusting pictures of people I don't recognize, so I make up stories about their lives. I give them personalities based on their smiles, attire, and posture.
Sometimes I learn their real names, like when my newest employer took me from room to room introducing me to every family member via photograph (very proud mother/grandma - I remind her of her fourteen yr. old grand daughter...she said it's my enthusiasm).

The funny thing is, I probably know more about my employers than they'll ever know about me.

I watch them interact with those around them - friends, spouses, children.
I notice their selection of books (there's a story in itself!).
I see their individual styles and now recognize it as I walk through stores.
I know what they're particular about and what they'll never notice.
I see what movies they like.
I know their birthdays based on the arrival of cards and gifts.
I know what religion they are (or aren't).
Their pets recognize me.
I know almost every inch of most of their homes, from the basements up.

All in all, I know and practically live with a bunch of strangers. I know facts and family, but I'm in the dark about their dreams or their goals, their fears and nightmares. And the truth is, they know even less about me.

I care about them and their lives, about their eternal fact we've talked about my faith, but ultimately we're still strangers, there are unwritten rules of conduct - what's OK and what's too much. There's an invisible wall that separates our lives...and for that matter society and the classes separate us.

Some of the places that I'm most comfortable in aren't even my home...I spend most of my week living with strangers.

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