Invasion of the "We People" |

Invasion of the "We People"

photo courtesy of Ben Bellizzi

Before such inventions as race, class and gender inequality drew society into factions, an individual was defined simply by the number of mouths he or she had to feed. People were labeled as single, or as attached to another person in some capacity. And even with the most primitive of humans, the singles had the benefit of extended leisure time, but lacked the companionship that was guaranteed those of the opposing group.From these differing lifestyles grew an unfortunate but seemingly natural animosity between the two groups, an animosity that we have surely evolved past after thousands of years. We are not cavemen, after all. Of course we don’t continue to fight over basic necessities such as food and water, leaving some stout and some starved… Oh.

Certainly there is no doubt that we have learned to treat each other with due respect, wiping out repulsive behaviors such as racial discrimination and sexual abuse… Huh.Well, it is unreasonable to believe that after thousands of years human beings could still inflict pain upon, even kill each other without just cause, or at least without weapons of mass destr… Hmm.Maybe we haven’t changed all that much. As for the comparatively trivial rivalry between the singles and the attached, the differences lie largely in labels and less in the actual realities of people’s everyday lives.

When “I” becomes “we”Individuals coupled in relationships are often chastised for their sacrifice of the singular first person pronoun in favor of the plural. They are “We People,” and when they describe the aspects of “their” life – ranging anywhere from their favorite Sex in the City episode to their week’s schedule of designated tickle-times (no joke, this exists) – they are assured a snickering audience of those praising their own first-person singular lives. However, because of the high-priced housing that is present throughout the Lake Tahoe area, most singles are anything but, living anywhere from three to 14 in an enclosed area. They are more “we” than the We People. They share the same low-cost groceries, hunt in packs for the same drink specials and half-priced appetizers, and rarely think of making decisions without first consulting one another. Living alone is not only unaffordable, it’s lonely, and the combination causes many who treasure their individual freedoms to attach themselves to any number of people, inadvertently joining a group from which they are so proud to be removed. In defending their single status, many individuals point to the petty bickering that can plague a couple’s relationship both to each other and to unsuspecting friends. Yet despite their desire to avoid such a living situation, roommates often fall victim to the same minor annoyances that are present anytime two or more people share the same space. What is routine to one can be repulsive and infuriating to another:

“What kind of person puts an empty carton of milk back into the fridge?””Why can’t she cut her toenails in the bathroom instead of right next to my dinner?””What is it about clothes that make him so averse to wearing them?”The unwashed dishes, the sour morning personalities, and the varying practices in personal hygiene frustrate even the most single of singles, yet they seek out and stay with each other because the thought of not having to deal with these people is too lonely. They have become We People.In spite of everything that has changed since the Neolithic times of Thag and Orna, human beings have relatively remained the same. Although we continue to struggle with jealously, selfishness and oppressive behavior, we have also retained the natural tendencies towards love, companionship and community that help to define us as human. We may tire of each other, or garner unfounded fears of difference, but we also have an amazing ability to sustain each other. An overflowing garbage and an unflushed toilet are no match for a warm smile and a suffocating hug. And in the Tahoe community, where dogs stop traffic and hitchhikers rarely wait longer than ten minutes, our commonalties far outshine our invented and insignificant differences.

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