Thursday, February 08, 2007


I'm reading Heat Wave, about the deaths in Chicago in the summer of 1995. The argument is that people didn't die just because of the heat, but because they were old and isolated and living alone in stifling one-room flats without any friends or relatives for the morgue to even call after the bodies were found. More and more people are living alone now, and more are dying alone.

Last weekend one of my housemates slipped on the ice and broke her leg. Someone else was walking with her at the time, and her swim coach and I stayed with her all day in the hospital until she was out of surgery. Later her mother flew up from Florida. It scared me to think of what would have happened if she hadn't had those connections - how long might she have lain on the icy parking lot? After the surgery, how would she have gotten home from the hospital? How would she function for the months until she gets her cast off?

It's not just for disasters that it's nice to live with other people. It's a luxury to be able to walk into the kitchen and find Katharine making muffins, to walk into the living room and find Kristy and Kyla watching movies. Sissi's drinking hot chocolate and telling Evie about the time she almost got arrested in Germany, Jenny's riding her bike through the hallway. You can always find someone to drink or talk or eat popcorn with. There are other people in Philadelphia and around the world living this way, and I want to keep being one of them.

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