Sometimes I forget how odd we humans can be. I fail to see the strangeness of a situation, because it has become so familiar.
Last night I was washing my face in the bathroom when I heard beside me a low, restrained cough. It wasn't an intruder. It was our neighbour Keith, whose master bedroom is a mere four metres from our bathroom.
All at once, I felt the sheer ridiculousness of urban living wash over me. I felt almost sheepish, thinking about my home. It struck me as fantastically bizarre that, with all the space on Earth, I have chosen to live in a wooden box, next to hundreds of other wooden boxes, in the middle of a veritable ocean of wooden and brick boxes. I live so close to the nearest house that I can hear my neighbour cough quietly in his bed. It's ludicrous.
I understand why, from a practical point of view, we humans have tended to congregate together. Now that we no longer till the soil and raise livestock to be self-sustaining, most of us need to live near other humans for employment. And with people grouped together comes the infrastructure we have come to rely on, such as roads, power and water. In cities and towns we find schools, law enforcement, welfare agencies, hospitals and many other important services. I also know that to own more than a standard block of land in the city costs a great deal - both in purchase price, and in annual rates. The larger city blocks have steadily been subdivided, until we are all living on tiny pieces of land, our houses teetering precariously close to each other. We live our lives scrunched closely together, witnessing each others' lives whether we like it or not.
I actually don't mind living near other people. I find people generally quite interesting, and I like our neighbours. I love living four streets away from my dear friend Belly. It's good to be close to shops and schools. And when I want some open space, I can retreat to Mum's sweeping acres of countryside.
I still find it strange to consider the closeness of city dwelling. Last night I could have piped up and offered Keith a cough lozenge.
I reckon I could have even chucked it in through his window.
N.B. - I suspect 'chucked' may be an Australian slang word, so for those non-Aussies - 'chucked' as we use it here means thrown or threw. For example:
"I got chucked out of class"
"I am going to chuck it all in and run off with my gym instructor"
"She got drunk and chucked up in the taxi"
OR (my personal favourite)
"If someone doesn't help me with this soon, I'm going to chuck a wobbly!!" (translation here - throw a tantrum)
As you can see, 'chuck' is a versatile and descriptive word. Try to use it at least once today!