It’s easy to think that our neighborhood is ordinary. After all, we live there and see it every day. We forget that what is ordinary for us, may be exotic for others.
I’ll give you an example. I have a friend who lives in Melbourne, Australia, about as far from me, here in Chicago, Illinois, USA, as it’s possible to get. I was telling her about riding the CTA, which stands for “Chicago Transit Authority” and generally refers to the elevated light-rail commuter trains, though it can also mean buses. She told me about a “roo,” or kangaroo, in her front yard. They couldn’t leave the house until the police came to remove the animal, since she had a baby with her and would become violent if approached.
Now I don’t know about you, but a kangaroo in my front yard would be quite something, must less a mamma with a baby. And the idea that this “cute” animal might hurt me is alien in the extreme – though, if you think about it, those feet and powerful legs probably do pack a wallop.
When I got to thinking about it some more, the world I live in here in Chicago is very different from where I went to high school. I lived on a seven acre horse ranch in the middle of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our ranch backed up to a larger cattle rancher’s place, and behind that, it was all Plumas Sierra National Forest. For miles. And miles. When it was dark there, you could see the stars. In Chicago, it doesn’t get dark. It’s an amber glow from the street lights – in fact, you can tell the boundary between Chicago and neighboring suburbs by the color of the streetlights.