There are many things I have never thought about when living in such a small community. I pondered this thought while doing laundry last night when looking at the stopped full dryer next to mine. Without even having to think about it, I knew right away whose laundry it was because of a shirt I recognized. After that I started questioning the many things I know about these people I spend so much time with and thought I would share what life is like with only 48 faces in the past 8 months.
Every morning I wake up and go to the restroom to brush my teeth. If my friend/coworker does not show up by the end of my teeth brushing I start to question that she remembered to set her alarm. And then if I don’t see her by the end of breakfast I start to get worried. I know her schedule too well. I actually know almost everyone’s schedule very well. We are all sure to radio people if they don’t show up for their usual activities. Sometimes people ask things like “what if someone gets hurt, lost or even dies in their room or outside, how long would it take to notice?” Well I am here to tell you for most people it would not take long. Sure, there are some people who keep to themselves that may not be noticed on a weekend since they don’t come out of their rooms, but most people would be noticed right away.
The craziest thing that many people previously said would happen, but I never really understood until now is how well I know people by their walk. I can see someone at the very far end of the hall and without a second look I know who it is. Most people wear their big reds (issued bulky coats) outside and I can tell who it is just by their stride and size. I never even thought this was a skill and I don’t think I will put it on my resume, but it amazes me that I know such detail about people. My coworkers and I have this new game where we guess who is coming up the stairs to visit us in our office. We are right at least 75% of the time based on the stomping that happens in the stairwell. Max and one other guy stomp and drag their boots, so they are very easy to guess. We are getting so good that people have started sneaking up on us so we don’t have a chance to guess.
I now volunteer in the store one day a week. I know about what time people will show up and almost always what they are going to purchase, which are usually cigarettes, wine, beer, soda, candy or red bull (nothing healthy at the store). I even know the few people who will always make a comment about the prices, which I always give a sassy reply saying, “you are right. You should go down the street, the prices are much better” or sometimes I will say “but we have the best prices in town!”
My favorite, but scariest thing that is caused by living so close for so long is how many stories get repeated that we forgot we told. So, with my coworkers we have started a new thing where we yell “STOP!” if one of us is telling a story that has already been told. It is amazing how many things get repeated. Just today Kim and I told Lindsey to STOP, mostly because we like to get each other riled up for retelling things. We have lots of fun in our office:) I am sure there are many other things I have learned living so close, but I am so wrapped up in it that it is hard to think of them. I will have to rethink this when I get home and discover more about my long adventure south.