We get so busy trying to get from point A to point B that we do not see each other. Maybe the reason we rush around so much is so that we don't see one another. Maybe the point of it is that we don't want to see others, really see them. Every work day I walk to get coffee. I start work at 6 A.M. and the walk helps me start the day. One of the things I enjoy about my walk down two short blocks on quiet downtown streets is watching people. I have become pretty accurate guessing which people will avoid my gaze, or won't hold the door open. It seems that some people cannot get beyond my chocolate skin or my dread locks. It doesn't matter what I am wearing; dress clothes, uniform, or smile. It doesn't matter that my eyes are twinkling with a smile, or even amusement. Now, we have a problem on W.6th with homeless people begging. But I am in a neat, clean uniform, I am freshly showered, my locks are in a neat ponytail. I don't think I can be mistaken for the homeless, but for my brown skin. It amuses me how many people will avoid my eyes. So few are willing to offer a smile and a good morning. People have their heads buried in the paper, their blackberries, ipods, and laptops. The more productive we are, the less aware we are and we pay attention to fewer things.
Last summer, I noticed, on my walk from the coffeeshop, one flower that was white among a whole bed of purple blooms. It was beautiful and made me smile. The guy walking towards me had to smile back. That made it all the better. It is the little things that matter.
Have you noticed how many singles are saying how hard it is to meet people these days? It seems that we have lost the art of being able to talk to one another. Not every conversation is going to lead to a romance, but isn't it great when you strike up a conversation with a stranger and find out that the two of you have a great deal to talk about, and some things in common. This does not mean that you are 'soulmates'. It does mean that there are plenty of people out there for you to meet, if you take the opportunity.
A couple of weeks ago, I drove to Columbus to see Toshi Reagon. I was alone at a table when a woman, who was also alone, asked if I was with someone and if I'd mind if she sat with me. I told her sit down, we introduced ourselves and talked. Her name was Shawn. She was smart, a little shy, had only been in town for a few months, but had not been out because of long hours at work (the University). She's working on her doctorate and seemed a sweet soul. No, this is not about looking for love. This is about being able to enjoy people. This total stranger was pleasant and I was able to meet a new person and enjoy a wonderful concert as well. How divine! This is a beautiful evening; great music and good company.
So often we don't know how to meet people because we won't even talk to people who we would not consider dating. Life is about more than that. Think of it as practice. Conversation is an art. Besides, if you don't know how to strike up a conversation with a stranger, what will you do when someone you'd like to meet floats by. Meeting people is beautiful. It is a shame that we have all of this technology to help improve the quality of our lives, but all day long beautiful, exotic, intricate, colorful beings walk past us without our ever noticing. We all need to take time to meet the flowers.