Considering the ubiquitous nature of cameras (well through cellphones and the like) it is amazing in a way how not many people really look at each other. Like really look. What color of eyes does your boss have? Do you really know or you can just make a fairly educated guess. Does anyone on your team have a mustache? What’s your relative height to others on your team? People don’t really process each other in real time.
The other day I was startled when I noticed that a colleague had a mustache. While I listened to him explain a problem, I kept asking myself whether he had always had a mustache.
Now there are certainly things that are noticed. People will notice whether my hair is straight or curly that day. For some, I can’t tell, it’s because they are quite confused how my hair can be so multi-textured. People will also notice my 6-inch heels and shiny new dress. They’ll notice, more often than not, my “statement” or rather the symbol of my statement. Most, admittedly, won’t get my statement. And that’s ok with me.
While many will note my new hairstyle or dress, many have not noticed when something was a little off. I’m often in a hurry getting ready in the morning. Who isn’t? On occassion, I have worn mismatched earrings. Considering that some major designers purposefully sell high-priced mismatched earrings, I don’t blame anyone for not noticing mine (that were not purposefully mis-matched). On another occasion I wore a dress inside out but the seams added to the coolness factor.
Just today I wore my yoga pants inside out. Before I headed to the elevator I actually noticed their disheveled shape. And I decided to not change them. I figured no one would notice. I was also too lazy to change them.
Now this past week, someone did tell me of something I was wearing incorrectly. I had a pair of sunglasses on my head as I entered Starbucks. I placed my order and had to search my bag for my wallet. In doing so, I came across my sunglasses. I placed them on my head. Paid. Waited for my name to be called. Then my colleague noted to me that I was wearing two pairs of sunglasses on my head. I looked a fool. Thankfully, somebody finally told me. Why?
Was that person more straightforward or did they actually want to save me from embarassment? Maybe that person felt more familiar with me and thus wasn’t afraid to say something?
Saving others from embarassment is a kind thing. And is also personal. Not everyone feels the need to help out. I recall many years ago, a woman on the train platform walking ahead of me, had her skirt stuck up in her underwear. Many had seen and passed by and had not alerted her. I ran up to her and advised her of the situation and just ran ahead. I didn’t want to see her embarassment. There were others who had not noticed at all. People were just walking about in their own little cloud. We are all a bit zombie these days . Apocalypse now indeed.