A ramble, Gentle Reader, a ramble out of control…
How did it happen?
Too many of us? Lives burdened by distractions? Skewed values creating a culture of glitz rather than a society of humans? Giant political or philosophical gulfs separating us, one from the other? Anger and disdain pushing the on/off buttons? Taking the grunt workers so for granted that we cannot separate the man from the machine? All of the above?
Here’s the deal. None of us, not a single one of us, is invisible. That guy wielding the shovel, digging the utility hole, is working–doing a job that makes every day function a bit better. The kid with the weed eater clipping at the park is doing that job so the park is enjoyable. A man in a grungy uniform stained by the waste of the world handles our mess. Ditto the trash collector, the street department workers, the janitors–cleaning up the messes.
Convenience store clerks, some struggling with the language, are working doing a job the rest of us need so our lives can function. There is a face, a person, a life behind every invisible human handling a job that many of us would not do. For a time, after 911, we turned a light on our military, taking time to acknowledge their service, thank them personally whenever possible. Now, in uniform, many men and women move in the invisible lane again.
Rethink Going Postal as a derogatory tag. My mailman, Kurtis, is terrific. Our Parkville clerks, Tammy and Ella, are outstanding. Going Postal raises the bar for any service industry.
Sitting in the Kansas City Rep lobby, Molly and I did a bit of people watching. Here the invisibility of sameness is challenged by orange hair, fur coats, tattoos of imagination, hauteur couture outfits, ragged jeans, flesh-colored tights, make-up extraordinaire, uniforms of individuality. At one point, I asked 17-year-old Molly to be certain I never got too weird as I aged–no blue hair and cheek roses.
“Why? Weird is good. I like weird.”
This from a beautiful young woman who has never owned a pair of matching socks, who relishes ‘ugly sweater’ day at school knowing that she can best the best of the ugly, has won acclaim for art work, took the SAT over because 2 points less than perfect was not good enough— a small, quiet bundle of intelligence and maturity.
Touche’ and my point, even though I did not know that the ramble would find that point of weird vs. invisible.
Neutralizing invisibility is fairly simple. Take a moment. Make eye contact, a nod, a thank you, a recognition, a smile to acknowledge one human to another.