People watching is my favorite sport. I am fascinated by the variety we hominids display with our aesthetics and our behaviors. Diversity is what we do best as a species, even if that diversity is the foundation for most of our hates and fears.
Last evening I was people watching in the local market. In no hurry go home after fulfilling my grocery list, a purposeless meander seemed a great way to pass time. I strolled up and down the aisles, observing other lives incarnate, while contemplating my own. It’s a game of comparisons, or as I like to call it, Jhciacb Counts His Blessings.
I became aware that a group of special needs adults were being led about the market by a woman who was clearly their doyen. It seemed they were residents of a group home, and there to select groceries for the coming week. The leader asked questions to them as individuals, and encouraged them to make consensus decisions.
I followed them for a bit, eavesdropping, studying, and contemplating. Suddenly I remembered I needed Brussels sprouts, and broke off from my tailgating. When I caught back up to the group, they had dispersed. Apparently, each had been assigned an item or two to gather on their own. This would be a good study.
I continued wandering the aisles as the blender in my head churned, still people watching – still contemplating. At some point, my brain went sideways when I realized I couldn’t differentiate the special needs people from anyone else.
Without their leader guiding them, they all just blended in.
Suddenly, if only for a moment, I viewed anyone in the store as a special needs person, until I concluded that they were or were not one. But I think I got it wrong at least a few times…
And that’s when it hit me; that we’re all special needs people, each with varying abilities and peculiarities. Most of us get through it though, with no need for a grocery store leader, and for that we should be grateful. We just go in circles around the sun, day after day, doing the best we can on this intergalactic short bus we call earth.
As I watched the special needs people reconvene with their leader at the checkout line, I couldn’t help wonder if they really needed a leader at all. Some seemed to be doing okay on their own. And I also wondered if maybe myself, and a few others in there, wouldn’t have been little better off with someone to take our hands and show us the way… Jhciacb
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