"I could never live as isolated again as you do," my co-worker says. I try not to laugh. Where I live is as far from being isolated as I can imagine. There's always something going on.
Every work day, from six in the morning until about four thirty, I sit happily typing at a laptop near a window facing the street. (I do get up and walk around. And go exercise. But still, there is a lot of sitting. Or standing). In the five years I've done this, I have had lots of time to observe what goes on outside. My street is a easy way to get to the little state park trails and to the lake. So I see people on their way to places.
First, about dawn, there is Intrepid Bike Rider, who perseveres through most of the winter. He always rides the same route--to the head of the lake and back. I feel that thirty degrees and below is just too cold to ride my bike, but he doesn't.
Next, there's Dog Walker Lady, who slowly, slowly walks past. Though her pace is glacial, she is out there on days that make me afraid, those sheets of ice days. The office workers stream by on their wellness half hour, bound for the park. There are occasional runners, not many, enough that I know them by gait. Once in awhile, a horse and rider clops by.
Sometimes the regulars disappear and I only hear of their fate later. The guy with Parkinsons, who rode his bike up and down the street several times, ended up passing on. I don't know why Slow Jogger Lady no longer uses my street--is she no longer in town? The old guy who used to creep up and down the street for hours--vanished. The guy in a cowboy hat and boots who used to stride to the grocery store and back every day--gone too. I can only imagine what has become of them.
I notice what happens on my street and so do my neighbors. They report to me if they see a strange car in my driveway. I text them when I am gone on a fire assignment to see if they can close my windows against rain. The kid across the street brings me a comic he has drawn and I send him home with homemade cookies. The other teleworker and I keep each other informed of solicitors: "there's a guy selling meat out of a van coming your way!" "Beware, Jehovah's witnesses enroute!"
Isolated? I don't think so. I know isolated, I have been there. Islands accessible by air and boat, a town of fifty souls on the loneliest highway. I just have to look out my window to know that this isn't it.
What's the most isolated place you've ever lived? Did you like it?