Mr. Rogers would be proud
Two white metal frame chairs with blue mesh seats and backs. Clearly foldable. Not new, but matching. One wooden folding table from Ikea. You know the one… you can eat on it from the couch. You probably had one in college. One bike — not working. Hasn’t moved in months.
This is what resides on a balcony in my apartment complex. What does that tell you about this neighbor? Well, she was poor when she got it all. As a matter of fact, the two matching folding chairs are, um, we’ll say second hand. OK. Fine they were dumpster dived… and they are mine.
I have recently taken to my favorite activity of all time: rollerblading. I know. How 1995 of me. I won’t go into my passion for the sport, or my history with blading, but I’m pretty hardcore. No brakes. Totally tattered. Need new bearings and new wheels but really with old bearings and old wheels it’s a better workout.
I have already digressed.
One of the benefits of rollerblading is covering more area in less time. Speeding around my neighborhood, I take in the sites by the second; each moment a snapshot of someone new.
Minute 34 of my route today brought me back to my complex and right past a balcony I pass literally everyday. Today I actually looked.
One green wooden chair with matching table, clearly part of a set created specifically for balcony decor. Plants grow around a painted green trellis, their intertwining vines winding through the railing, decorating an otherwise indistinguishable balcony. There are supplementary potted plants in shades of pink giving the 8’x5′ balcony a splash of color.
“A single woman must live there,” I thought. “Probably in her 50’s. And I bet she’s lonely.”
My judginess startled me. I know nothing about this person. To be fair, I’ve only met two young men in my entire complex, and neither of them I know well. Suburban apartment life leaves, well, everything to the imagination since no one ever talks to anyone else. Heaven forbid I actually ever DO need that proverbial cup of sugar.
I started looking around.
Two satellite dishes and no furniture: Must be 2 single guys — roommates.
Two bikes, no furniture: Young athletic couple. I bet they’re happy.
Two matching chairs around a big glass table. The chairs are facing each other: Middle aged couple. I bet they read the paper there and eat breakfast on sunny mornings.
With my two blue dumpster chairs facing out into the parking lot, slightly rusted, not right next to each other, I started to wonder what impression I’m giving off.
What do your neighbors know (think) about you?