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.