Sunday, March 27, 2016

Interstices

My internal map is pretty good.  I usually can figure out a new place pretty quickly.  I take roads I have not been down, with some level of assurance that at the end of the route, I will be pretty close to my destination.
Photo of neuron by Grazyna Gorny. Stolen from U Mich website.

Vicksburg, Mississippi has now been my home for the past two months, and am continuing to find roads that I have not yet driven.  It is exciting to me to find those spaces that are not in my mental map, and fill them in.  Sometimes, they are truly empty spots on my map.  Other times, my map has compressed those spaces out, made other angles more acute, and I have lost actual area that I have never accounted for.

Finding those interstitial areas, for me, is a little bit like finding a hidden closet in your house.  I didn't know the space was there, never missed it before, but I really love finding it and exploring it and expanding the previously empty space in my mental map.

Vicksburg is not exactly a booming metropolis.  It boasts a population of 23,542 23,544, so it always comes as a pleasant surprise when I find one of these little spots.

I am finding much the same thing happening in the social sphere within Vicksburg.  When Kathe and I first arrived, it seemed that everyone we met was a friend of a friend, that the degrees of separation between any two people was zero.

The funniest of the instances happened even before I came to town.

I had done a short detail at the Corps offices a few years ago, and had stayed in an apartment down the street.  I called up Sue, and asked her if her apartment was available again, at least until would could get something else set up.  "No, Crorey, I already rented it.  But I will ask around and see if there is anything else nearby."

What was nearby was her next door neighbor, Janet Fischer.  I had known Janet as a next door neighbor before, and was pleased to have the chance to rent from her.  Having my lodging settled was a really good step, and I was pleased to have it locked in.  And I was pretty happy to talk about it.

So when I was introduced to a Vicksburger the Sunday before I left New Orleans, the conversation naturally flowed to where I was planning to live.  I told him, and he said, "Oh, yeah.  I know that house."

A week later, I learned that he had almost swallowed his tongue when I told him.  I had rented the apartment of his ex-wife.  And he couldn't talk about her in front of the woman he is dating now....

Interstitial distance decreases, in the blink of an eye.  Since Kathe has arrived, she has made friends of dozens of people, all of whom are integrated into the fabric of the small town in different ways. The shop owner sits on a historic preservation committee with the restaurant owner, who is the next door neighbor of the policeman who patrols the downtown area.  The title lawyer was married to the retired dentist who is next door neighbor to a retired Corps employee who has an apartment that she rents out to visiting Corps employees.

And everyone is kin to a Corps employee somehow, current or retired.  And with each person we meet, that interstitial distance gets smaller.

I think I will have to be on my best behavior.

1 comment:

aunt Patty said...

A very revealing calendar date is on the horizon. Time for a new leaf or golden opportunity?