Monday, March 23, 2009

Not Without Notice Today

Do you ever have days when you feel like you must honestly be invisible? Like no one seems to even see you walk into a room? Or cars pull out in front of you in traffic as though your car were some kind of stealth car or something? Have you ever stood in a circle of friends and felt like the conversation was going on all around you and no one could even hear you when you tried to put in your two cents? Well today was not one of those days for me. In fact I was a little too noticed for my own comfort.

I had gone to Walgreens, because I don't live in a perfect world, to get a large envelop to mail one more book proposal to an agent. I was standing in a line with probably 5 or 6 other people just looking around, minding my own business but kind of minding everyone else's too, when a woman walked in the door and began to walk our way. I kind of caught her eye as she came in the door, but then, out of stranger etiquette, diverted my gaze elsewhere. But as she came closer and began to walk right by me I was surprised to again notice her staring straight at me. As she approached she said, "Hello! How are you doing?" Now I can't possibly convey to you on this blog the inflection in her voice. She spoke not as though she were simply being polite to a stranger, but as though she knew me oh so well. I was quite surprised, but, being raised a friendly Southerner, I smiled back and said, "Hi! I'm fine and you?" to which she replied that she was good too. Then she walked on by. I was a little taken aback by this interchange, but just figured I had encountered an extremely friendly person. Still, that didn't explain why she had been so friendly to me and not the other 5 people in line. Oh well.

Ten minutes later I enter the post office to mail the aforementioned book proposal. Usually our post office is extremely busy, but today I wasn't in line more than a couple of minutes before I heard "Next" from one of the postmen at the desk. I went to his window, handed him my package and said hello. I told him I needed to mail this package and watched as he punched in zip codes, etc. But I also noticed, through my periphery vision, that the customer at the next window was staring at me. She was just turned toward me and looking straight at me. Now I had already noticed this woman as I stood in line and knew that I didn't know her, but now she wouldn't quit staring at me. So I turned toward her to see if indeed she was looking at me or perhaps she had some kind of fixation with the wall just beyond me. Sure enough she was looking at me and as I turned toward her she said, you guessed it, "Hello! How are you doing?" Notice once again the emphasis on you - as though she knows me well and has missed seeing me for some time now. Again I replied with a friendly smile, "I'm great thank you," and then turned back to look after my business, a little more baffled than before. Who are these people? Do I have some kind of dementia problem and not recognize people I'm supposed to know? Why does everyone seem so glad to see me today?

I left the post office and headed straight to my car, flipped down the visor mirror and checked my face to see if I had colored paint on me or something. Nope. I found no reason for everyone to be so friendly and familiar with me. Strange.

Well that's my story. I tell you this mainly because it was freaky and because much more often I feel invisible more than highly noticeable. But today I was certainly noticed and I have no idea why. Maybe these women go to my church and they recognized me but I didn't know them. That happens sometimes, but not usually twice within 10 minutes. Whether they really knew me or not, they were surely friendly. Can't fault anyone for that. Maybe I need to freak a few people out myself tomorrow with extreme friendliness. I think I'll do that. Join me?

1 comment:

Lisa Lucy said...

LOL! What a strange and awesome experience for you! I still haven't let my southern hospitality be diluted, and I do smile and say hello to anyone whose eyes lock with mine for more than a second or two. It bothers some, makes some happy, and angers some. What a funny thing.