Who’s Who in Our Town?!
“One thing I really like about living in Our Town,” Marci said, “is that after a while you start knowing the people you see and seeing the people you know. A hello here and a wave there makes the place feel like one big backyard.”
“Yeah, but not everyone likes that,” the Soupster pointed out. “My cousin Dave lives in Anchorage because of the ‘anonymity’. His Saturday morning routine includes a trip to Barnes and Noble for a read and a coffee. The irony is that by now, I bet the coffee baristas and most of the regulars know everything about him, except his name… You can tell a lot about a person by what they read. But I can see his point. At least the person at the next table isn’t going to know your family tree or anything else remotely private about you”.
Marci nodded in agreement. “The worst is seeing my counselor in public,” she said. “It makes me feel kinda naked. Like, the other shoppers see this normal adult doing the normal shopping thing; meanwhile, she knows that lurking just below the surface is this crazy animal, just waiting to be unleashed. I scare myself just thinking about it!”
“Counselors are like teachers,” the Soupster reflected. “You forget that they do normal things like go shopping or go to the gym. They probably even see shrinks themselves!”
Marci laughed. “Another nice thing about living in Our Town,” she added, “are the familiar strangers that you get to know. It starts when you keep seeing someone around town. Soon, you find yourself greeting them and one day you start talking to them. Often you find out who they are, but since they’ve never officially introduced themselves, you feel obliged to pretend you don’t know, or else act as if you’ve always known! Strange really…”
“Then there are people who greet you as if they know you, but you can’t remember having met them,” the Soupster said. “In that moment of awkwardness, you’re tempted to return their greeting as a long lost friend. But if you don’t clear the air immediately, let’s say you’ve more or less missed the boat. From then on, you’re locked into pretending you know them”.
“Oh, yeah, and let’s not forget,” Marci warned, “that sometimes we’re greeted affectionately by someone who thinks they know us, when actually they don’t. That happened to my coworker recently. She told me how she saw my brother Ben down at Crescent Harbor the other day. They were deep in conversation before she realized that he wasn’t Ben! See, it does happen. You should never assume that you’re the one with the bad memory!”
“Hey, I gotta go,” the Soupster said suddenly. “That’s the guy who I’m selling my boat to. Or is it? Anyway if he isn’t, I’m sure I can convince him he is. He sure looks like the kind of guy who needs an old Whaler,” the Soupster said with a wink.
– Submitted by Lois Verbaan DenHerder
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