You go through your day, and people talk to you. They ask you questions. They need directions. They just wanted to stop by and say, “Hello.”
They talk to each other, and you overhear it.
“Did you learn about aspartame in your nutrition class? I learned about aspartame. It kinda freaks me out.”
“And then he said, ‘I like your socks,’ and I was like, ‘Really? You have to try harder.'”
“It’s so muggy in here.”
They nod at you as they pass by, and you both manage to speak in the short time it takes for them to walk by.
“Have a good day.” – “You, too!”
“How are you?” – “I’m doing fine. And you?” – “Just great!”
“Thank you!” – “You’re welcome! See you tomorrow.”
Every once in a while, though, someone comes through, and the scene changes.
You’ve noticed him before. He comes in often, almost everyday. You have exchanged passing pleasantries prior to today.
But today, he pauses and reads something on the desk in front of you. And you look up from your book and watch him read.
And the scene changes.
He’s scruffy. He has brown eyes. He has a light scar above his left eyebrow.
He glances at you and smiles as he says, “Hi,” and then goes back to reading. He doesn’t give in to the popular compulsion to narrate why he’s breaking his routine. You like that about him.
You don’t give in to the popular compulsion to rationalize aloud why you’re watching him.
His focus is intense. It’s just a flier about the building, but it has his full attention in this moment. The same full attention he gave you with his greeting.
He finishes reading, and then says, “Community baths, huh?” His voice is the exact moment that the buttercream from your cupcake mixes with the first sip of espresso on your tongue.
You manage to pull off a sympathetic smirk and say, “Yeah.”
He smiles and shakes his head. Your smirk grows into something more open. More alive. His smile does the same.
He pats the desk once and says, “Have a good day.”
And the scene has changed.
Not really. Nothing is different. Tomorrow, it will be back to “Have a nice day!” – “You, too!”
But you remember that you can notice. And feel. And appreciate. And be awake.
And the number of days, weeks, months since that has happened has been reset to zero.