Friday, September 7, 2012

The Fifth Wall

There are times when I suddenly become preoccupied with the fact that I live in close proximity to a bunch of strangers.

If all the walls on all the houses in my neighborhood were to suddenly disappear, or shrink down to six inches the way they do in The Sims, I'd suddenly be exposed to an entire neighborhoodful of people. Right now I can see, oh, maybe two dozen houses from the end of my driveway. If each of those contains an average of three people, that's around 70 humans who I could see and who could see me if such an event were to happen. If it weren't for our walls and doors, we might as well be living in a big ol' hippie commune. Power to the people!

Does it bother me that my neighbors are strangers to me? Not that much. I mean, I'm not tempted to get to know them... throw a block party and get acquainted with all the 'bors. I guess I'm not very outgoing. Truth is, I know the names of the people in the three houses just across and the two houses next to ours. That's it. And I've lived here since I was three. I'm not sure I ever want to get to know all the rest of people on my street. Some of them could be murderers! "Oh, but if you got to know them, you'd see they were nice people!" you say. Right. Even if I were to throw a block party and introduce myself and befriend everyone, they could still be dangerous people. It's not like I would know. It's not like anyone would be like, "Hey, I'm Sheryl! I live in 20651... the yellow one with the cow mailbox, yeah! And I am a murderer." Because who says that?

Which is not to say I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about murderers. But if the walls were to suddenly come down, I'd be really, really freaked out. Because my neighbors constantly, unabashedly dwell -- that is, eat, sleep, shower, pee, and a lot of things I never want to know about -- 20 to 30 feet away from me -- all the time. 

Thank goodness for walls. Or as I like to call them, enablers of blissful ignorance.

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