Thursday, February 21, 2013

True Story

Here I am, downtown, headed back to my car, on a recent Sunday - a famous Portland "sunbreak" in progress - and so the rays are reflecting energetically off the wet pavement, the people are smiling from their Sunday benedictions. It's only mid-morning so we have the day ahead of us to be useful, productive, goal-oriented. I wait patiently for the crosswalk signal. There's a man about my age on the other side, also waiting patiently. He's Indian-American, perfectly normal and well-groomed*, and he smiles at me, and looks away. I smile and look away. We wait for the walk signal. (*I point this out because hey, downtown Portland on a Sunday morning? There are plenty of unstable or homeless or still-drunk or plain ol' crazy people out and about. This is just a neighborly-seeming, regular dude.)

Just as we pass each other in the crosswalk he flings his arms wide and gestures loosely from my head to my toes, and says, "Beautiful! Such a beautiful woman!" and keeps walking, and doesn't look back. It burst forth from him; he says it in a way that he just HAD to tell me he thought I was beautiful. It couldn't remain unsaid, and he wanted nothing for it - nothing but to say it and move along with his day.

Do I think I'm particularly beautiful, especially worth such a joyous outburst? No, that's not why I'm sharing this with you, of course. I'm sharing it because I wonder what could happen this week if I'm compelled to share a loud, brash, big, silly compliment with someone - especially someone I don't know well, or at all - and what if I go ahead and do it? Will you do it with me, and tell me about it? Maybe it'll motivate me out of my straight-laced box and I'll be ready when I see someone do something nice, dance something beautifully, wear something crazy-unique, say something really funny in a public place. I'll be ready to shout out to them that they are wonderful! And then I'll share about it here, too.

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