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Monday, August 24, 2009

Meeting Strangers

One of the best parts of my search for a new apartment and new roommates has been the process of meeting people.

A month ago as Laura and I walked from meeting with five house mates in a gorgeous house in Jamaica Plain I wished aloud that we could just do this for fun without the pressure of having to make a decision.

No one's guards are up when you're interviewing for housemates it seems. Because you both know what the other one wants. And lying won't be productive in the end.

I meet up with these people and then they show me their lives. They invite me into common spaces, tell me about why they chose the artwork they did, how they feel about network television. I get to see the proud gleam in their eyes as they show me their vinyl collections or their deep fryers or their gardens.

I sit on a couch, or a chair or a stool and I sip tea or eat popcorn and rework the creases in my skirt while we laugh and swap stories. Stories about friends, family members, and jobs.
I heard a story about someone having to show his phallus piercing to an air port security officer, I met someone who found her dream job at the Museum of Science. One man riffed for several minutes about why he really insists on seat belts in the car, a throwback to driver's ed school in the 1970s the midwest where he was subjected to watching actual footage of gruesome wrecks. Something his 16 year old self never let 39 year old him forget.

And then I tell stories. I've explained what I do for work and why so many times now that I feel like I'm discovering things about myself all over again. I've developed a new sound byte for myself.

I had been feeling like everything I built up over the past two years was getting lost in the chaos of having to move, but as it turns out it was only misplaced.

I still wish there were a way to go to stranger's houses and listen to their lives just for fun. Without becoming a Jehovah's Witness, that is.

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