Is it wrong that I notice people and wonder what their story is? Maybe that’s not the right way of describing it. (I wish there was a website were you could type in your “definition” of a word and it would give you a list of possible matches. If you know of one, let me know!) Maybe what I mean is, is it wrong that I wonder what’s going on behind closed doors? (Not in the sick, voyeuristic way, but in the metaphorical way.)
Let me explain.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to my daughter’s D.A.R.E. graduation. (As much as I appreciate what the program is trying to do, I’m so glad it’s over. You can read about why here.) Anyway, toward the end of the little “ceremony” they had, they played a slideshow of photos the kids had taken of each other while eating lunch or during recess. They were cute and sometimes pretty funny because it was just a bunch of kids being kids and being silly. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I have limited patience and a group of kids being wild and silly is not my cup of tea. But these were pictures so I didn’t have to live through it, I just got to enjoy the smiles on their faces. But I happened to spot another mother in the audience during the slideshow and she was expressionless. Practically scowling. I didn’t see her crack a smile, laugh, or even lift one side of her mouth to show she was enjoying the pictures. I don’t really know her all that well, but since her daughter and mine have been in the same school together since Kindergarten, ours paths have crossed. She always seems to be somber, unapproachable, and almost hostile. I have also seen her husband at the school on occasion and he seems very different than her. So then, I can’t help but wonder, Is he cheating on her? How is he able to be happy when he has to be around such a grumpy person? Odds are he’s probably not, and who knows, maybe she’s a wild sex goddess in the bedroom and carefree and fun at home. I don’t know and it’s not really my business, but still that nagging thought is there.
Another example. In my subdivision, there is a nice house (and when I say nice, it’s looks nice from the outside. I’ve never been inside.) The family that owns the house just bought it and moved in last summer (I believe.) Yesterday, when I was coming home after dropping my daughter off at school, I saw a For Sale Sign in their yard. Me being who I am, wondered why they were moving so soon. And I proceeded to come up with a list of reasons why someone would sell and move out of a house they had so recently purchased. But, what business is it of mine? Why do I need to speculate their reasons for moving? I don’t. It doesn’t affect me at all.
For a while, I kept telling myself that it wasn’t a big deal that I was doing this. I mean, I don’t usually share my curiosities. And I told myself that most people probably do this. But then I started wondering what people see or think when they see me.
When people see me, do they see a friendly person trying to do good for her family? Would they suspect that I’m actually scared and lonely and at my wit’s end?
Do they see a young mother unable to control her kids or do they give me the benefit of the doubt and assume I’m trying as hard as I can?
Do they think because I have a nice house and truck that we got an inheritance and spent it all on that? Or would believe my husband worked hard to earn what we have?
Do they see a confident young woman with the whole world ahead of her? Would they wonder if I’m actually crying out to be seen?
Do they see someone who is modest and a goody two-shoes? Would they ever think that I’m actually craving more sex with my husband, but is too afraid of rejection to go after it?
Do they see a young woman? Would they ever guess my actual age and then add on thirty more years for the age I feel?
So maybe it’s not such a good idea to try to see what’s under the surface. There are things behind the masks probably better left unseen. Maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time wondering about what’s happening inside other people and just focus on what’s happening inside me.
I know this is a little different post than what I normally do and I don’t really know where I’m going with it, but getting it out of my head somehow clarifies my thoughts. Let’s just call it some mental cleansing and leave it at that.