You give bus tours of the homes of ordinary, everyday folks who live in your town. You’ve been doing it for years, and the same shtick rolls off your tongue day after day. You can pretty much recite it in your sleep.
This two-story house is where Craig and Nina Olsen have lived out the majority of their lives together. Craig is well-known on the block for his grilling expertise. Nina is an insurance claims adjuster. Their son moved to New York City to study dance.
The people take their snapshots and cross the house off their maps. They’re satisfied that they know the lives of the Olsens now, they know what it means to be Craig and Nina, to live in their home and watch their son head off to find his rhythm. And then you roll them on to another one.
Melanie Llanerch, a widow of 15 years after her husband Mario died on the floor of the plant in a mishap. Melanie’s annual Christmas party has been the source for quite a few local rumors, but it’s all in good fun. She’s very active in the neighborhood decorating committee, and there’s a long line of ladies who’d like to find a way into her book club.
Is that it? Is that all there is to say about Melanie? What are you doing, whoring these people’s homes out to be gawked at by paying strangers? You don’t know them. You make a living summarizing the existence of human beings. This isn’t where you wanted to end up.
Here we are at Pamela and Arthur Reed’s house. I could tell you all that Pamela works in finance and Arthur is a school teacher, but does that tell you even the slightest bit about them? If we want to know who these people are, what kind of lives they’re living, we’ll just have to go into their homes and watch them live it. Who’s with me?
You run out the door of the bus and the passengers follow you as you sprint across the lawn to Pamela and Arthur Reed’s doorstep. The door is locked. You throw your weight against it. Once, twice, a third time. The door flies off its hinges. Pamela Reed has a handgun. She aims at your heart. You die instantly. Two more shots are fired. One hits one of your passengers in the arm. The other hits the wood of the door frame. The rest of the passengers run for their lives. Your murder is ruled self-defense. Pamela had the right to defend herself from an intruder into her home. She had the right to keep you from knowing how she lives.
Happy A Guided Tour Of The Homes Of Ordinary People Day!