Happy Hippie Friday

I once read an article that said that it was impossible for us to recognize everyone we come in contact with or pass on the street as individual people. Our brains cannot process that they are in fact people with families, feelings, homes, and complete lives that we can't see.

People become transient objects in our lives.

I set out to defy the article, I was sure that I saw ALL people for what they truly are: living, breathing individuals, with hopes and dreams, complex relationships and emotions, striving to become more connected to their surrounding world.

It was impossible. I was exhausted and paralyzed as I tried to reach beyond the surface. Staring at people, searching for their back story, trying to catch their eyes, and hoping that they realized that I was a person, too.

When I read Lane's beautiful post, I was touched by her perspective. What a simple and important message, "I'm here. You're here."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I was groped on the way home from work today. The sidewalk was crowded with people coming home from work. I was lost in thought about pasta and Joan of Arc, when someone brushed past and squeezed my hand.

I thought it was my husband, who maybe spotted me on his way to the grocery. But as I turned I saw a stranger walking away; I could only see the back of his balding head. He was a small man, with longish gray curls. His walk struck me as jaunty before I snapped back around to join sidewalk traffic.

What just happened? A stranger grabbed my hand. No, he grasped my hand. Was it creepy? Was it aggressive? Did it feel like a prank? It felt like the gesture of a friend who might see you in a crowded room at a party, and passing, squeeze your hand so you know he's there, even though you're busy talking to someone else. That's it. It felt like a squeeze that said "I'm here."

Of all the touches that take place in a day, how many of them are for that purpose? I am here. I am part of this physical world--you feel me, I feel you. I am here.

Why me? I looked down at my hand. What about my hand made it the one, out of dozens, that he decided to reach for? Maybe it was because my hand is small. Maybe it looked like a good omen. Maybe to that stranger, my hand looked like it might bring a blessing or good luck, auspicious as the Blarney Stone, a smile from a first-born child, the fountain at Chapelle St. Jean-Baptise.

I thought about the hand-holder as I went through my front door, apartment door, and into my kitchen. It wasn't until then, after I got home, got a glass of water, started making dinner, that it occurred to me that it's possible the hand-holder didn't take my hand for him. possible that he took my hand because I looked like I needed it.

Thank you, Lane, for such a powerful post.

Thanks for reading and have a fabulous weekend!

Check out Lane's blog, Little Lined Notebook, for more inspiring experiences.
Via her very talented sis, Ali


Joslyn said...

oooh i love that. hippie friday's are pretty darn swell rachel!

Tawny said...

Wow Rach I loved that!! Thanks for sharing!!

Erin said...

Sometimes when I am in traffic I watch the people driving past and I wonder where they are going and who they are. It's kind of frustrating though, because I can never know the answer.

BERRETTS said...

In "A History or Love" there is a part where the old man tells how he intentionally spills his coffee or takes a long time at the store to ensure that someone notices him, a subtle way to ensure he still exists. I found the idea so profound and interesting. It also helped me to be more patient with elderly people who take FOREVER in line.
Sherry (Cope)

Rebekah Loss said...

I got a little teary-eyed reading the excerpt you included. Thank you for sharing.
-Bekah Loss