I have a thing for faces and names.
There were 502 students in my freshman class in high school,
and I can honestly say, that even though I may have never spoke
to all 502, I could probably still match the names to the faces.
But there were a lot I knew because we shared a class together,
played on the same soccer team or had mutual friends.
For a very long time,
one of my biggest pet peeves was seeing kids I knew from school
out and about – at the mall, at a restaurant, you name it –
kids I had classes with or were friends of friends with,
and they’d see me, and I’d see them,
but they wouldn’t even say hello or acknowledge they knew me with a smile.
I can remember countless times making efforts to say hello
and being shafted with nothing more than an iced stare.
It was SO annoying!
I couldn’t understand how we could sit a few desks away from one another in class,
but in public, I was a nobody.
Then college came,
and for the first time in my life, I felt like I had actually met kind people.
They’d wave to me on campus, or just offer a smile as we passed in the quad.
We could have only shared one class together, ever.
Yet the acknowledgement was still there.
Hmmm. What was wrong with this picture?
You mean to tell me kindness isn’t actually a crime?
It can be greeted with warmth instead of dirty looks?
Shocking! This was news to me.
My five and ten year reunions have come and gone.
The eras of MySpace, Facebook, then Twitter.
And little by little, I’ve found myself being a little less kind
in the fact that nowadays when I see people from high school
I pretend I have no knowledge that I ever knew them.
I don’t smile. I don’t say hello.
The best is when they try to add me on Facebook.
Ha! You want to “reconnect” with someone you never really knew?
Seems like a very strange concept to me.
It’s kind of sad to admit that somehow I’ve picked up their unkind habit,
when instead I should be killing them with kindness instead.
What inspired all this was a little kindness offered to me today.
I was grabbing lunch earlier today in the midst of Christmas shopping.
I was hungry, and zoning out about what I had left to buy
when the girl in front of me says,
“What’s your name? I swear we went to high school together.”
I honestly have to say I had NO clue who she was.
I told her, and she confirmed she did remember me.
“We had mutual friends: ____ and _____.
I think we ate lunch in a big group together a few times.”
I certainly hope my jaw didn’t drop in front of her,
because it felt like it did.
I felt embarrassed. I vaguely remember her.
But the fact that she made a point to say hello was pretty darn cool in my book.
I am a fan of kind people.
Perhaps I’ll try to be a little kinder myself.