Since I was a young girl I’ve loved architecture, houses, and design. When I was in my pre-teen years, my family was designing the house that we would eventually build. I spent my weekends going from cupboard stores to plumbing stores to flooring stores with my parents. I dreamed of the day I could buy my own house. It took a little longer than I had hoped, a few too many years in university and a few too many trips around the world, but at 29 I was finally able to buy a little house with a little backyard. Just. For. Me.
I moved in and eventually got around to attending my new ward. Which, coincidentally, ended up being the same ward that my sister and brother-in-law are in.
Ward Member: Hi. You’re Sarah’s sister? She mentioned you were moving into the ward.
Ward Member: So you are living in Sarah and Alex’s basement?
Me: Ummm … no? I live in Sagewood; they’re in Forest Glen.
Ward Member: Oh, I see. You must be renting one of those condos up on Jones St.?
Me: No, I live at the bottom of the hill. I own a little house.
Ward Member:But you’re still in school?
Me: Actually, I finished grad school about 6 years ago. Just been working ever since.
Ward Member: Oh, I see. Nice to meet you.
And thus the conversation ends.
Now, if this conversation happened just once or twice, I could probably just laugh it off. I understand that people make assumptions that are sometimes quite wrong; I know I am not found spotless. But variants of this conversation have happened time and time again, and continue to happen a year-and-half later. Both my sister and brother-in-law have also had this conversation with ward members, clarifying, that no, I don’t live in their basement.
I am 31. I am single. I have a graduate degree, am driven in my career and am fortunate enough to live in a city with a bustling economy and plenty of jobs for engineers. Consequently, I can afford to own a nice little three-bedroom house in a mature neighborhood. I own my own home, yes, it is fully furnished, and no, I don’t have roommates; please don’t be surprised.
Now, because I own my home, you would think that I would be ‘old enough’ / ‘mature enough’ / ‘independent enough’ / ‘responsible enough’ (I’m not really sure what is the right phrase here) to make my own decisions and to speak for myself. But, apparently, that is not the case. We’ve all heard of stories where the husband is asked whether or not the wife could hold a calling or would be interested in doing xyz. In my world, since there is no husband in the picture, my brother-in-law is the lucky one to sometimes gets those awkward questions:
Does Amy play the piano?
Would Amy be interested in this calling?
When would be the best time to visit Amy?
I’m grateful that his response is always something to the effect of “Why don’t you ask her yourself?” He tells me about the conversation, and we joke about how he should know all the details of my life since apparently I live in his basement.
Now if you’d be so kind as to excuse me, I have a back gate I need to go and repair.
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