NaBloPoMo 9: Lost Faces

I have found a new place for myself at the local Panera of late. See, my coffee maker is broken, and starting the day without that delicious jolt of java is simply a bigger risk than I dare. Starbucks doesn’t do it for me, I dislike the culture as much as the coffee. Peet’s is too far. Coffee Bean too crowded.

But Panera is new, lines are short, and while it’s not my coffee, it is a decent stand-in.
So I have found a new place for myself at Panera.
Truth be told, I’m typically in and out rather quickly. There is much to do, especially in the mornings…
But each day this week the cup of joe without which I’d not make it to my desk has been brewed by the same man. He wears a blue shirt and, I believe, a manager’s badge.
   He knows to give my non-fat milk,
   and that I don’t care for foam.
   He’s careful to put a sleeve around the cup so that it’s not too hot.
And I don’t know his face.
   His skin is dark. Well, darker than mine.
   Hair, short-ish.
   He smiles.
But I don’t know his face.
How many people have I not seen today?
     The checker at the grocery store?
     The woman who looked directly into my son’s eyes when he got his new glasses?
     The mom in line behind me in carpool?
     The server at the restaurant?
How can it be that these people’s lives are wound around mine, and yet I fail to see?
   If the coffee had spilled, I’d have remembered his face.
   If the glasses were wrong, I’d have remembered her face.
   If the mom in carpool had hit me, I’d most assuredly remember her face.
It’s easy to get lost in the city. It’s easy to go unnoticed. And worse, it’s easy not to notice – a failure to see. The lives behind these faces are those of people’s whose lot is cast with mine. It’s time to see their faces…

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Acacia
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 09:43:44

    Beautiful! I love the rhythm of your phrasing and how you slowly build your point. It is amazing how many human connections we miss going about our days.


    • Lori
      Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:24:23

      Thank you, Acacia! I have to admit, I’m not learning any new names (heck, chemobrain has stolen the ones I used to know!), but I am working to be much more aware of how I acknowledge those around me, how I meet their gaze, how I strive to affirm our connection.


    Nov 09, 2012 @ 10:11:36

    Your post is something we all need to think about, especially in today’s culture where everyone is plugged in and tuned out to the world around them. Life is not found on the tiny digital screen we hold, but in the faces of those around us. Great post!


    • Lori
      Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:28:08

      Oh Brenda, you could not be more right. I am ashamed to say I’m as addicted as anyone to the never-ending stream of seemingly urgent information. I used to be a Franklin Planner adherent (before the days of Covey), and one thing that the founder said and which has stuck with me is an awareness of what really matters. He used to keep his phone (his REGULAR) phone in a desk drawer. The space on his desk was “A” or top priority space, and his phone was not. Phone calls are someone else’s urgency, but not necessarily our own. And that applies to so many things!

      With all the pressure to post every day this NaBloPoMo I probably should have saved that for it’s own post — you may see it again!


  3. Susan
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 11:04:40

    When I went to live in Nashville for a few years in between living in Los Angeles, I got used to asking people their names and trying to remember them. I knew my postman, the people cleaning the apartment complex, people at the gym, etc. My postman Steve was so kind that when I needed to forward my business mail to my home address from my brother’s office because he died, he wrote me the kindest note about my brother’s death trying to be of comfort. I carried this over with me in Los Angeles and I love saying hi to my postwoman, UPS man that I also see driving when I walk my dog, other dog owners and their dog’s names, the woman that clean and vacuum at my gym, etc. It’s a great feeling smiling at them everyday and asking how their day is going. Sometimes it takes me two times to remember a name, but I do my best. This is a great subject to post about and I think I will do that. Thanks Lori!


    • Lori
      Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:29:11

      You make a good point, Susan…so many communities do this better than we do here in LA. But I’m working to stem the tide. I have more thoughts, but like my comment to Brenda, I can probably use it for a subsequent post so I’m sneaking off here…

      Thanks, always, for commenting!! XOXO


  4. Trackback: The Relatioships we don’t think of when we see the same people every day | Susan's Blog from Advocates 4 Breast Cancer (A4BC)
  5. wrathofmom
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 22:05:53

    What a beautiful post.

    I live in a small town and not only can I not get a decent cup of coffee (it’s the ice rink or the 7-11) but there’s zero chance of anonymity. I’d love to go unseen. Not that I’m contradicting your sentiment — just lamenting that you’ve got options and the power and willingness to exercise them.

    (I followed you from twitter via your nablopomo hashtag. Good luck with the rest of the month.)


    • Lori
      Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:30:07

      Glad you found me!! And you’re right, that door swings both ways, doesn’t it. I’m sure I’d crave a little anonymity if I were in your shoes! I’m so glad you shared your perspective…thank you!!


  6. jelebelle
    Nov 09, 2012 @ 22:57:49

    I was just thinking about this the other day as I learned my juice girls name to be Emily. Thanks for the reminder, taking the tie to truly see people is important.


    • Lori
      Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:31:53

      So important…and it is how we come to be seen. As I said above, I am so bad with names! But I can remember a face, and I’m finding more and more that it’s working!!


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