"They're just ordinary people. It will do you good to see how the rest of the world lives." She replied when I asked her, one afternoon shortly after we met,
why she had invited me along on a visit to her sisters.
Going to the burbs to visit some ordinary people wasn't fraught with potential for enlightenment but I promised her I would try not to be judgemental and I was going to do my best.
She loved her car, an ancient, little, blue, Volvo wagon whose seats were falling apart. She said it was like her, cranky and slow. She covered the seats with a couple of Mexican blankets and warned me to be careful that a spring didn't poke me in the butt.
During the drive we didn't talk much because there wasn't much to say. I was feeling a little uneasy with the details of life. I stared at signs along the road and got trapped in the lives of the nameless people who designed and painted them. I tried to tune everything out with very little success.
Her sisters place was on a strip of street in a new development of starter homes cut out of the farm fields surrendered to the city without a thought to what that surrender meant. I didn't want to think about the displaced cows and chickens and farm implements, let alone where they went. The dreadful image of homeless tractors chugging down the highway searching for refuge made me nervous so I diligently didn't look at the farms or the way nature metamorphosed into soul numbing strip malls. I tried to shut down all of the input but , thinking I had fallen asleep, she, all too soon, gently shook my shoulder to wake me up.
We had arrived.
The houses on her sisters block had narrow, easy maintenance strips of lawn in front. Baby trees were lined up straight and narrow on either side of the crisp black asphalt. The houses were pale and bloodless, their picture windows were bare of curtains.
She turned off the car. The front door of her sister's house began to open. A dog ran out and stood, blinking in the sunlight.