I keep running into people that remind me uncannily of people I already know. Not necessarily their their features and physical looks, but their gestures, their expressions, the WAY they say what they say. Maybe it's that I've been around the world that many times that it's just become a big game of global concentration, matching people to their particular doppelgangers!
Today at the doctor's office there was a lady dressed in matching knitted ski pants and tops, and a crazy elf hat. She was muttering to herself, and wheezing and grunting as she got dressed in the tiny cubicle where we were all stashed. The rest of us were giving each other knowing looks as we waited. But then she shuffled out and busted out this maniacal fabulous smile, "happy holidays, and good luck in there, sheesh!!" she huffed. We all laughed. My niece has that same nutso smile, and that same "sheesh."
This was a part of what happened for me at the SQUAM ART WORSHOPS last September. One of the assignments in Andrea Scher's superhero/photography workshops was to spend five minutes quickly photographing someone you had basically just met. It was revelatory to me how much you SAW of someone in those five minutes. I felt I could see deeply into these faces and personalities without saying a word. Their essence was in there, so close to the surface really.
Ever since Squam I've taken more time to really notice people, their gestures, to acknowledge them. Draw out their stories (and photograph them!) And especially this time of year, I find I'm opening doors, I want to know what might make people tick, I'm asking "How're you doing?" So many of us are completely stressed and scared because of the daily gloom and doom. Small kindnesses are such a relief!
Maybe it's my dad the journalist in me looking for a good story. Maybe it's that I just spent some time with my mother. But it seems to me that all any of us really wants is to feel we've been truly SEEN. And that someone is listening for our answer when they ask us how we ARE.
My beautiful crazy niece Hilary!
The snow continues in New York. Cabbies are careening everywhere, slush is slapping faces at crosswalks across the city, but the park is wicked pretty in white.
Stay warm out there, hot chocolate for all.