Thursday, August 13, 2015

I Miss Anonymity

This weekend was hard. No, that's not quite right. This weekend was shitty.

So Monday after I dropped the minions off at school, I just wanted to walk and be alone.

But that's something I've learned about Avoid.


There are people EVERYWHERE.

Kids walking to school. Kids walking home from school. Kids playing in the yard.

Adults waiting for the bus. Adults walking to the bus. Adults walking to work. Adults just walking. Sitting outside. Chit-chatting. Walking their dogs.

People are always outside, and it is impossible to go anywhere without at least saying hello to a dozen people.

When we take our dog for a quick walk in the evening, we know that if we walk up a certain street, our 15 minute walk will become an hour and a half. Kids gravitate to us and to our sweet dog Brenna. Even without the dog and without my kids, if school is out, I will have company. 

"I saw you out driving today! I waved at you!"

"Where are your kids? Where's your dog?"

"Can I walk with you?"

Most of the time this is awesome. I love the feeling of community we have here. Maybe it comes from the fact that no one has garages. In the suburbs, you drive your car into your garage, close the door, and walk straight into the house. You can avoid stepping foot outside all day long if you want.

Maybe it's because it's hot, and dang it ... lots of people don't have air conditioning. So sitting on the front porch is just a way to get out of the stifling indoors.

Maybe it's because not everyone has two cars. Or one car. So they walk, or take the bus, or get a ride, which necessitates stepping outside.

But if you just want to be alone, it can really suck.

I went to the University of Virginia. It was huge compared to the small town and high school I came from. When choosing a college, I wanted to go to a place where I could walk from Point A to Point B without seeing someone I knew. Not that I didn't want to see people. But I wanted to be able to be anonymous if I wanted to be.

In my old neighborhood, I frequently went for walks and never saw another living soul. And if I did see someone, if I had my earphones on, I could get by with just a wave and a smile. Not so in Avoid.

So ... today when I craved my old anonymity ... when I knew I couldn't walk around our neighborhood ... where did I go?

So the nice, neat, engineered neighborhood that surrounds one of the children's schools. The neighborhood with the manicured lawns and the rear-entry garages and the porches that no one sits on.

The only person I really came in contact with was the exterminator. I waved, and said hi, and kept on walking.

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