Friday, May 18, 2012

It takes all kinds

Over the years I have taught as many parents as preschoolers. It just so happens that when a parent has a personal problem, they sometimes come to me. I like helping people.

Got to thinking about all of the informal counselors who coach and coax and give advice. Yesterday we went to a casino lunch buffet (buy one get one free coupon) and I listened to the restroom attendant, cleaning matron. She asked a pretty young blonde how old she was.

"Honey at twenty-four I'll bet you have problems."

The floodgates opened and the attendant could have grabbed a mop and bucket to sop up what that young girl released. "My boyfriend..."

The wise counselor said, "Baby, at twenty-four you should be loving YOURSELF, because if you don't love YOU first, you can't expect anyone else to. No way should you be tolerating..."

I smiled because I realized, that woman with a menial job was attending to personal needs in a way most attendants don't. And when the twenty-four year old left, there was another lady for the "couch", and so it must go for her every single day. That dear woman does an outstanding job, and she attracts people.

On the way home we saw a young woman in a car ahead of us at traffic signal. She appeared to be upset, pounding the steering wheel. When we pulled alongside her, her bebop music was deafening. In her right hand she was drumming to the rhythm, on her steering wheel witha silver serving spoon, oblivious to those around her.

Some people go about their day with blinders on. Others are aware, sensitive and open to others. Pause for a moment and take a look around. Observe and write a character sketch of someone you ran into today. Please share a sentence or two. I am doing a workshop and may use your material as an example, with your permission, of course.


Bookie said...

You are very atuned to folks. I used to be but fear I might have lost that quality. I reminded myself just the other day to polish it up! Some of us gals were talking about it a few days ago, how age seemed to have made us stay inside our own busy minds instead of noticing others so much. Ex: not smiling or frowning on the way into Walmart, just straight-faced, lost in our to-do list, being oblivious to looking others in the eye with greeting.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Shoulders hunched over, she never moved faster than a leisurely stroll. Her mouth, always gaping open slightly, allowed a constant flow of air...And as empty-headed as she was, there was enough room for the air and all its cousins to run a relay race.

Pat Wahler said...

After a long day hunched over a keyboard working to create a narrative supported by data and background material, I return home and sit like a dazed soldier. The television becomes my best friend while what's left of my brain goes on vacation.

Character sketch of ME!

Critter Alley

Susan said...

She smiled bravely but there was sadness in her eyes. This 18 year-old, soon-to-be mother looked aged beyond her years. Too much too soon of things that should have happened decades in the future. My mother's heart wanted to reach out and hug her but she moved quickly away, walked silently up the stairs, and retreated into her the darkness of her bedroom.
Hi Linda. Hope all is well. Susan

Linda O'Connell said...

Thanks ladies, these are wonderful!

Cathy C. Hall said...

First, I wanted to say that I read your last week or so of posts--I'm not sure where the week went that I wasn't reading them then--and smiled and laughed and nearly got a little choked up. Always lovely here-and congrats on your CS story!

Character Sketch? Hmmm...I saw lots of people yesterday but one stands out in my mind.

She takes tiny little bites, eating her lunch, as if she's afraid that her salad might add pounds to her waistline. She nods and smiles in all the right places but never says a word. And I wonder if she's afraid of something bigger than her salad?

Tammy said...

LOVE your sketch of the attendant! And bless all those who truly attend to others. You're right--it's so easy not to. Here's mine:
She is heroine thin and angry. Yesterday she proudly announced that she graduates next week. She is so glad to be getting out of school! Then she shows me her new tongue piercing, being careful not to look like she's sticking her tongue out at me. "I like it," I say, smiling because at this point it's all I have to offer her. I am shocked when she smiles back.