We take interest in others quite naturally, but this is ordinarily with a small proportion of those we encounter as we go about our busy lives. After all, the supermajority of those we see in a given day fly past us on roads. They wait behind and before us in lines and make exchanges with us in the marketplace. They don distant, temporary forms over our screens. But not so on Beaver Island.
If you spend enough time on the Emerald Isle, you understand that the driver of the pick up you just passed was your cashier earlier in the day and your neighbor at The Circle M last night. The friendly face at Daddy Franks belongs to the same teen who was building a dam at Little Sand Bay on Tuesday and is now serving you a cappuccino at Paradise Bay Coffee Shop. On Beaver Island, it is easier to find yourself thinking later about the folks you encountered earlier because you
In various settings.
Last night, Sheri and I enjoyed “The Boarding House”, put on by the Beaver Island Community Players at the Beaver Island Community Center. The play is full of characters that the playwright, Vern Harden, describes as “zany,” in a house “where life is anything but normal.” That was true. It was also quite accurate when Sheri leaned over to me and whispered, “You know, the characters are all a bit like the people playing them.” Besides the fact that a person is likely to imbue a persona they wear with a person they are, we knew enough about the post mistress, the veterinarian, and the high school senior to be able to get a special, quaint kick out of the production. We got to enjoy characters playing characters.
And Beaver Island is full of them! Sure, the island probably attracts a special sort of folk, and sure, the local culture leaves its imprint on you, but, for what its worth, here’s what I think:
Beaver Island gives you a special — an unusual — leeway for getting to know people. While our typical interactions with people are fleeting, the island arranges for you to meet people again and again. Same guy, different scenario. Same gal, different role. And the imperfectly-cast characters we might usually assume we know become the interesting and familiar characters we know more truly.