The other day when I got home from work, my youngest wanted to share his day with me. He had been out with his Dad running errands and picking up groceries. As he stood in line at the local Giant kidding around with Steve, he was engaged in conversation by an older woman. She had a heavy New York accent, and Charlie did an amazing job mimicking their conversation, no doubt a good addition to his stand up routine. It was apparent during his re-enactment that he truly enjoyed this woman and their brief interaction.
I’ve said before that one of the benefits and also one of the detriments to being a woman over 50, especially one who has given up on maintaining color in her hair, is that you are often made to feel invisible. This woman Charlie met – we’ll call her Doris Roberts since that was the consensus on who her doppelgänger was – she engaged Charlie: On high school and his choice to finish up on line and how smart that was given the gun violence in schools; on his tattoo and her consideration of one earlier in her life…how it looked good on Charlie but it was likely best that she decided against one; and on his facial piercings. She was honest, curious, and opinionated without being judgmental. She drew from my son all those things that kids wear proudly and yet with great self-consciousness, and she made all of it positive. The encounter for Charlie was lovely and memorable. I can only hope the same was true for Doris. I believe that those who need to see us do see us. But only if we make the effort to make ourselves visible. Thank you, Doris.