In Situ/Out Situ



Sometimes I catch myself looking at someone and saying, “I know that person, but I don’t know where from.”.

And then it hits me; they are my dentist, a local store clerk, a parking lot attendant, a bank teller, …

I’ve never seen them outside of where they work before. 

I’ve never realized that they had a life and are not always wearing a uniform or hanging around in one place 24 hours a day.

It’s a strange feeling when this happens: they are out of place and out of context. I’ve labeled and tucked these people into a certain category in my mind and they have messed with my reality by appearing where I don’t expect them to.

I was 22 before I saw my best friend’s mother in any other location besides her house. It freaked me out!!

Other people could pop up anywhere and that would seem as completely natural to me as seeing my face when I look in a mirror.

I’ve mentally categorized these people as nomads and wouldn’t blink an eye if I saw them shopping for a carpet in Istanbul,  riding a bike along a street in Buenos Aires, or waiting in line for “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland. 

In my mind, these latter people are bigger than their surroundings. 

I’m sure a lot of people think the same about me: I’m just a backdrop or part of the scenery in their lives.

I’ll try to be “out of place” more often from now on.









note: I tell some of my students that I live at work and sleep on the table at night.

3 responses to “In Situ/Out Situ

  1. planetross, I would surmise that as the only 6’2″ blond Canadian man in Numata, you are classified as a nomad per se. I enjoyed the allusion to people bigger than their surroundings and the nomad analogy.It all rings very true.

  2. I still recall seeing my second grade teacher in the grocery store ( waaay before calling them super markets ), and being flabbergasted that she had a life outside of PS 206.
    And that she had toilet paper in her cart.

    This is the kind of impression we all seem to be affected by, even years later.
    Now, I’m taken aback when I see someone here one day in a town hall meeting and the next time in a scuba mask.

    Call it a ” just-a-position ” of time and place.

    bonnieluria: I remember seeing the vice-principle of my jr. highschool in a strip bar when I was 19. He just played it cool, asked how university was, and made a few “oh my! doesn’t she look nice” comments before making a graceful exit.
    I like the “just-a-position” line.

  3. WP is still at it on my browser, “Stack overflow at line 1” Just sayin’
    I better not see any of my local bank tellers out & about, they’re supposed to be at the bank looking after my money….

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