Has this ever happened to you? You and a stranger are passing by each other. You don’t really know them or perhaps you vaguely know them, an acquaintance of some sort, so you’re not really sure how to react. Do you say hi? What if they don’t say hi back…awkward. Look straight ahead and pass by them? That may come off cold…. Look around confused as if searching for someone? A classic move but so cliche at the same time…. I can guarantee that the same thoughts are running through the other person’s head as well. What ends up happening is that you both look down at the ground as you pass by each other, minimizing the contact.
I started noticing this when a friend said to me, “why do people feel the need to look at their shoes when they pass by. Just look at my face or look up at least. For god’s sake, you don’t even know me”. This curious act intrigued me.
It seems that people have a tendency to look down when they’re walking either out of fear, nervousness, shyness, or just to avoid cracks and puddles. However, this creates a very unwelcoming environment. It’s not very difficult to look forward, or better yet, to give a little acknowledging smile, maybe even a polite wave. You don’t have to know the other person, it’s just friendly! It’s how people start to get to know each other and its a small way to build community.
I vote we start looking up. Look up from our boring, everyday shoes and see where it takes us. Look up from our dreadful homework at the friend sitting beside you. Look up from our phones and text messages and endless apps to the cute guy eyeing you from across the train. Look up to the sky and the stars and dare to fly. Yes, you’ll fall into some cracks and there will be puddles, big ones, but never let that stop you. Life is messy and life goes on and if you’re not looking up you’re going to miss it. Look up and wonder and learn and love. Look up to a better future. To dream.
(these are some cool things I saw when looking up)
Finally, something I noticed when looking down.
This proves that anything can grow in the toughest conditions (a crack after feet of snow in Maine!) Happy summer everyone.