going to our local grocery store is kind of a social outing for us. we always walk in the same door and are immediately greeted. it’s like walking into ‘cheers’ the bar on the tv show of the same name. no one yells out, “norm!” but it feels the same. leticia and skye and anthony and thank-goodness-she-is-recuperating-and-is-back-hugging-everyone-cheryl…all are sweet and hardworking people who make us feel welcome, noticed. it keeps us going there; it makes a difference. it’s this grocery store’s mission – to serve – no one is forgotten.
feeling recognized – whether you are or not – is essential. someone else’s act of including you can change everything. for you. for them. someone else’s act of noticing you can change everything. for you. for them. it humanizes experiences that can be mundane and even cold. those moments on an elevator in the absolute quiet, everyone staring at the door. the security line at the airport. finding your way through a train station. in the doctor’s office waiting room. seated in an event auditorium, minutes before its start. fast-walking through city streets. in the oil change wait area. and yes, in the grocery store. notice.
i try to remember this. it’s my natural inclination to fill the gap of awkward silence with something, anything. i have had many strange stares on the subways of nyc, actually having had the audacity to talk or laugh with someone i don’t know. but those brief words or quick laughter changed something in me right then; the moments on the subway became real, the people became real, everything slowed down and it was about right then. noticed.
we heard a comedian once say, (words to the effect) “it’s not about making people laugh. it’s about bringing laughter TO people.” festival’s got it right. they are on target with their mission – to serve. the are enriching the lives of others. in the simplest way, by noticing people, their customers, they bring a sense of community. noticing.
and no one – or thing – is forgotten. not even lettuce. well, maybe green leaf.