My fellow blogger Lori at “regrounding, of chemo, cancer and red, red wine” wrote a great blog talking about the man who makes her coffee every day at Panera and that she realizes that she sees people every day and doesn’t know their names or wonders about all the people around her that she sees but doesn’t know. When I went to live in Nashville for a few years in between living in Los Angeles, I got used to asking people their names and trying to remember them. I knew my mail carrier, the people cleaning the apartment complex, people at the gym, etc. My postal worker Steve was so kind that when I needed to send my business mail to my home address from my brother’s office because my brother died, he wrote me the kindest note about my brother’s death and wrote me when he was changing his route.
I carried this way of life with me when I permanently moved back to Los Angeles, and I love saying hi to the woman delivering my mail, waving at the UPS man who I also see driving when I walk my dog, other dog owners and their dog’s names, the women who clean and vacuum at my gym, etc. It’s a great feeling smiling at them everyday and asking how their day is going. Sometimes it takes me two times to remember a name, but I do my best.
I think it’s important to take the time trying to get to know the people around you especially as our lives have gotten so complex and we are so used to being dialed in to our work and daily life on the computer. This in no way takes away from the amazing friendships I have made as a result of social media and I cherish the friends I have met online especially when it comes to breast cancer.
I think it is helps me feel connected to my surroundings by acknowledging the people who I run in to most days. There’s an office building I walk by every day when I walk my dog Shelby and I always wave to the security guard at the front desk as I pass him. One day he was on the street talking and I walked over and learned his name is Juan, so now when I walk by I wave at him and say “hi Juan”.
Taking a moment to ask the names of people I see often always lifts me up even if I am having a rough day. If you are reading this and it is not your custom or practice, try it. I think you will find the same joy that I do in being surrounded by wonderful people working hard every day to do a service that helps your day or is just someone walking their dog just like you are.