I keep seeing glimpses of other people’s lives (“I was at Panera for a leisurely lunch on Saturday when the military helicopters flew overhead,” “Do you ever just sit and watch the canal go by?”) and I get this strange burst of longing to know what that life is like. It’s fuzzy thinking I try to avoid, but sometimes it’s irresistible. I have endless curiosity about people’s lives — the things they think, the things they do, how they parcel out their time. That’s a) why I read insatiably and b) why I find things like A Day in the Life so fascinating. And twitter*. Because what is twitter but an endless update of how strangers (in my case) spend their time?
It’s one of the things that keeps me sane at work. I deal with people all day, and since technology is frustrating I deal with people who are often angry or scared or completely unreasonable. But it’s my job, and I get paid, so I try to overcome my introvert personality and be helpful and patient and friendly. and all the while I wonder about them, these people. The couple who is working on an enormous ancestry project, complete with fact finding trips to France and Ireland and Canada? I love the idea of them sitting side by side in front of their iMac, documents in orderly piles around them, as they update trees and talk about their shared history. The woman who takes a yearly safari? I love listening to her talk about sitting down in the winter and going through the photos to create a photo book, reliving every moment. I don’t think everyone in the world is equally interesting, but I find people as a whole fascinating. We obsess over celebrity lives(*) and details because they seem to live so differently on that glittery plane, but I tell myself that if any of my customers were celebs people would find the mundane existence of their lives equally fascinating. For some reason this gives me much greater patience with them.
I’m jealous of the projects outlook; I love the idea of settling into a long term project and actually following through. About the only one I’ve ever done is NaNo, and realistically I don’t ever follow through once November ends. There’s something so cozy in the word project. It conjures up winter Sunday afternoons before football, curled up with a computer. I suppose it says something about my current levels of tech addiction that I think curling up with a laptop is cozy.
Mostly, though, even though my life is ok and things are mostly good, I have sand in my shoes and a desperate urge to escape to something else, somewhere else, and to live a life that doesn’t equal work/home/work the way mine does right now. Someday I’ll gather up the bravery to follow through. That’ll be the day I can shed unreasonable guilt about letting people down if I leave.
*I always feel a little defensive of my twitter usage, because I don’t interact with a ton of people and don’t have a ton of followers, but my family all read it and I mostly use it is a micro diary. I’m sure I could gain followers with better hash tagging and more @ tweets but that’s just not why I use it.
*side note: Speaking of celebs, I was horrified on twitter to read an apparently earnest tweet to an actress I follow: “How does it feel to breathe the same air as [actor]?”. My jaw literally dropped. It makes me so uncomfortable. I think fandom has always had a bit of a crazy edge (screaming teenage girls chasing the Beatles) (I have the opening intro to Hard Day’s Night rolling through my head right now) but social media and instant access to celebrity makes things extra awkward. Actress seemed completely exasperated.