The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...

Friday, February 25, 2005

How long until you notice me?

A fairly morbid question that has sparked conversation a few times in my life is "how long would it take someone to notice you were gone?" The entire conversation began a few years ago by a co-worker. She lived in an old D.C. apartment building in which odd odors were not out of the ordinary. However, one fateful day, the emitting odor belonged to the elderly lady downstairs, who had passed away almost a week prior. This tragedy sparked a happy hour conversation about what a sad lonely life one must lead that no one would notice she was gone. This discussion eventually turned to a question posed before the group: in your life, at the present time, if something were to happen to you, how long would it take until people noticed you were gone? (This does not pertain to someone in a serious long term relationship. We all know that if you go missing for over a day, there is an all points bulletin put out by said girlfriend/boyfriend.)

Personally, I have never lived my life in an extremely routine way. Even back in college, it was not that out of the ordinary to go "missing" from one aspect of my life for a while. No matter how much I think I have grown up, this still seems to be the case. If I were not to show up at school for a week, I think most people would assume something personal or family related had come up. I would probably get emails, perhaps a phone call or two, but no search party. If my family does not hear from me for a week...well, that's pretty normal. They would naturally assume school is just keeping me busy. Same goes for my non-law school friends. My roommates may catch on a bit sooner, but that is doubtful. We all have such varying schedules, they would probably assume, over that week, that we just kept missing each other. I think it would take quite some time before people noticed I was gone.

This is not some sad "pitiful me" story. In fact, I have more friends than I have time for these days. That's what makes the question so interesting. To our dismay, we realized that we were wrong. The people in our own lives not realizing we were gone is just as possible as an old lady going unnoticed in a DC apartment for a week. Realistically, many of us live in such a way, that it is not uncommon to have periodic disappearing acts. I actually kind of like living that way. For those of you reading this...how long do you think it would take the people in your life to notice you are gone? (not counting significant others)

Comical note: this post was sparked by the fact that in FOUR days that I did not post anything, I received THREE concerned phone calls.