So yah, we took off to Canada, eh?
Christian had business in Montreal and so Kyrsten and I tagged along. Not my first choice of destinations, as a matter of fact, so far it’s lived at the bottom of my list of really useless places to visit.
It’s cold, it’s stinky (literally), it’s expensive, it’s pretty base (NOT a family town), and there’s really nothing to do other than shop. Which, on occasion is a fun thing for this girl, but not with 16% sales tax and not really for me at Louis Vuitton. No offense, Louis, but I’m more of a Target girl, and high-end to me is the Loft outlet.
Plus, I’m not a city girl by any stretch of the imagination. Seen plenty of them, and though they may entertain me for a day, they really make me long for home, or at least a place where birds actually sing.
Yes, I realize that sounded a bit Snow White-esque.
This particular city adds to my stimulation overload by adding this little thing called French into the mix. All signs, menus, and anything else helpful are useless to me here. As are my maps and translator for my maps since my data on my now not-so-smart-phone is at a premium outside the good old US of A. Neat. This makes big city navigation extra-fun.
Especially because no one here likes me. Actually, I think no one here likes anyone else–at all. I do a lot of observing wherever I find myself, and here, more than anywhere else I’ve been, folks keep to themselves. The streets are jam-packed with folks walking with purpose and intention and no one looks anyone else in the eye. No one.
No one moves on the sidewalk to let me/us through. They just walk–rudely. Kyrsten and I found ourselves moving out of people’s way and saying, “Excuse me” almost constantly.
I haven’t seen one other person do either of those things even once here.
It’s like the land of the unseeing and unseen, and everyone wants to remain that way. A sea of faces of every shade and shape. Some trying so hard to project an image and others apparently not even giving a darn. Not even a little one.
We did get to talk to one very nice man over dinner. I spent the evening observing him and listening to him, and there was one sentence that really struck me. In case he were to ever read this and because it’s irrelevant, I will not reveal why he said it. He said in reference to his past and quite embarrassingly, that he was just a statistic.
Sure got me thinking. I started to think about how many statistics I was a part of. Oh, boy. These are just a few of the boring ones.
I am a dog owner. That makes me a part of the 32.7% of the US population that had a dog in 2007.
I brush my teeth at least twice a day. This puts me in the range with 75-86% of the rest of the world.
I am among the 84% or so of women who have remained faithful to their husband. Neat, huh? Christian thinks so.
So who cares? How does this relate?
Well, all these people I see who a trying so hard to blend in, really, in their heart of hearts don’t want to be just a statistic. Each of these people long in the deepest part of them to be loved and SEEN; to matter somewhere, somehow to someone. No ones wants to remain faceless–just a statistic–no matter the front they put up.
Despite all the ads and pictures I’ve seen here that seem to represent how one should look, I didn’t see even one person walking the streets that really looked like those pictures. Rather, I looked into the eyes of a lost and bearded homeless man who, quite frankly, scared me to the depths with what seemed to lurk within him. I looked into the eyes of a green-haired girl with a sign asking for change and saw someone’s baby girl–lost and alone.
I didn’t see 5’11” size 2, perfectly dressed supermodels.
I saw a bunch of people locking themselves into safe places of anonymity.
So, I try to determine how to bring this home. Honestly, I don’t see this kind of attitude quite as much at home. Especially, in small-town-USA. Folks where I live still trust the honor system where I pick berries. They literally leave a jar for folks to put their cash. They still smile at me and might even hold the door for me. And I enjoy doing the same.
While in Montreal, I still smiled at every single person whose glance even hinted my direction. I still held the door for people and stepped out of the way every single time. I say, “excuse me” and “please” and “have a great day” like I always do at home. The fact that I don’t get a response makes me want to do it more and perhaps extend a little hope or love–or even just a spark of humanity.
And it makes me want to hug my family and be seen. And encourage them to shine a little brighter in a dark, lonely world. To look for ways to show people that someone, somehow, sees them.
That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? To look into people’s eyes and help them see that they matter? To show them that there is way more to living than projecting an image–no matter what that image may be. To care about the lonely and unseen.
Count me in, eh?