Fish Or Man

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I Don't Care...Don't You?

How many people have passed through your life and you never bothered to show them you cared? Likely there are hundreds maybe even thousands. Doing something as simple as saying hello might make a difference you never imagined would. Make eye contact, share a smile, wave, send an email, or make a phone call. Please, do something.

WSU sits on a hillside. I enjoy walking there to take my wife a latte, or lunch or maybe just bring her something forgotten at home. The campus departments appear scattered across this hillside. The "campus sprawl" and steep hillside has helped many a freshmen avoid the "freshmen20". During this walk, I am generally surrounded by students and staff scurrying about.

While walking I attempt eye contact with everyone. A difficult task in itself. There are those constantly checking messages on their cell phones, (too important to acknowledge other's existence). Then there are those that stare at the ground, (sunlight rarely lighting their face). There are the young manhood head noods of today, (it's much less a nood down in polite respect, but more of a tilt up, "as if"). Throw in a few old professors, eyes locked straight ahead, never lowering their guards, (the youth today might see weakness and pounce). Though rare, there are even a few that initiate eye contact.

Do I consider it a study on the behavior of rats? Not hardly. I genuinely care.

Not long ago, a sign on the side of a van full of seniors said, "reunion tours." From the look of their ages, it could have been the 40-year reunion. I noticed more elderly walking around and realized every single one was attempting to be acknowledge in a sea of cell phones, laptops, MP3 players, and notebooks. I wanted to scream, THIS WILL BE YOU SOON ENOUGH. SAY HELLO! HOW HAS IT BEEN? GLAD TO SEE YOU'VE COME BACK! LOOK AT THEM! JUST DON'T IGNORE THEM. The walk was likely this old man's last walk on campus, this woman's last look at what she had enjoyed years ago. (Some had caregivers or family members beside them to help them around). The students ignored them the same way they ignore each other.

As I was heading down the hill away from the mall, an old man with a helper was struggling to get up the hill back to the tour van. He raised his head enough to see if I would acknowledge his existence. I did. He suddenly walked taller adding a friendly smile to his worn features. As I passed him I asked how he was doing. He said fine and asked the same of me.

I would like to think I was the last person he saw before leaving campus. Sadly, he was likely ignored by hundreds maybe even thousands before he left.

This post was inspired aftering reading Dave's blog and finding"for cait"