This little idea started merely as curious speculation. Passing by people’s homes, warmly lit from the inside as day turned to dusk, wondering who was inside. What were they doing? How were they doing?
That translated into looking at one address – the same address – across the US, to answer all of those questions, and potentially find similarities. Are people more alike than not, despite the variety and conditions of their homes?
I quit my full-time job to focus on this project, and will be spending the next several months discovering and interviewing the people of 923 Oak. I’ve sent out a handful of letters to some of the 85 923 Oaks across the US and gotten three positive responses. Sadly, one of them had second thoughts just before our interview and declined to participate. I can’t blame them – I recognize it’s not a comfortable thing to have a total stranger come into your house, ask you a bunch of questions, and then post the details of your conversation on the internet.
But some brave residents have agreed to this craziness (“It’s art!” one enthused). Two interviews are complete – one in Ohio, one in Arizona. I walked away from both wishing I could have spent more time with them (and I just might.) All of the people I met were men: a couple, and a retired veteran and his two friends.
- One has a degree in nuclear engineering from MIT.
- One was recently released from prison.
- One is in research & development at a specialty ice cream manufacturer.
- One is a sought-after-but-currently-out-of-work hairstylist.
- One is a former floor covering salesman.
- And one more character: a Chihuahua named Suspect.
Over the coming weeks I will share some of the highlights of my visits with the people of 923 Oak. I can’t wait to introduce you to even more.