Sunday, June 27, 2010
I blog. I post. I tweet. I'm now writing for television - not because anyone is paying me to, but that will come. :-)
And none of that has anything to do with today's topic.
I'm not talking about random acts of kindness, of which I am a huge fan. Those are acts that require no "listener", no recognition.
I'm talking about the not-so-random, purposeful act of recognizing a stranger. Not being silent. Acknowledging that you see and recognize another person, who equally has needs, emotions, stress, heartache, joy, purpose.
Recently I traveled solo to a software conference. No one else from my company was attending, and my girlfriend couldn't join me. At the conference itself, getting eye contact from others was very difficult, just to smile, nod or say "hello." I know people think IT folks are the introvert sort, but trust me, there are extroverts in all industries. Though discouraged, I made a point of doing so, and it felt good. For those who were too shy or too rude, I had to let that go.
Coming home on the plane, an elderly couple sat next to me yet oddly refused to acknowledge me. I said "hello" but received nothing. Perhaps I was quiet, or they didn't hear me. I was seated at the window; the woman between me and her traveling partner. She elbowed my rib cage or my shoulder at least six times. I understand it's tight seating, but she never acknowledged her actions. I gave up the left armrest as I do for anyone "stuck" in the middle seat. And I accommodated however I could: leaning into the window, pulling my shoulders in, etc. I didn't glare, sigh heavily or demand apologies, but a simple gesture from this woman -- a smile, a shrug -- would have acknowledged me.
So here's what I take from it: I choose to acknowledge others, and will consciously do so more and as much as humanly possible so I don't make anyone feel so alone. I will let them know I see them. They are human. They are equals.