The Invisible People

 

 

We’ve all seen them… sometimes.

I’ve named them “The Invisible People”, they really aren’t, but even though they occupy a space, and their shape, weight and form is perceptible by our senses…we don’t always see them.  Human nature and it’s mysteries.

 

Parenthesis.

Once while watching a very predictable movie – no offense to Jennifer Lopez, but less than perfect performance, she is a goddess on the stage, but not quite there yet as an actress – I realized the existence and the concept of the “Invisible People”. J.LO was a cleaning lady at a Manhattan hotel and her boss warned her to do her job while being invisible to the guests. Because the movie was nothing but a soap opera for the big screen, what happened next was exactly the opposite, and the leading actor falls totally in love with her. Message of the Movie: Don’t ask Jennifer Lopez to go unnoticed.

Parenthesis Closed.

The invisible are not exclusive to hotels, they are everywhere: around a cities’s streets, parks, restaurants, coffee shops, airports, train stations, subways, even our homes. Now that I am aware of their existence I see them often.

They usually work hard and perform with extreme humility jobs that no one else wants: clean public toilets, swipe floors, recycle, wash dishes, clean houses, build bridges or expressways, pick up the garbage… I would say in general their job is to make our lives easier, nicer, cleaner. But we hardly notice.

Second parenthesis…..

This post’s purpose is not to make anybody feel guilty – for me guilt isn’t a valuable feeling, the real reason behind change should always be love – as a matter of fact, I don’t think the reason for not noticing them is a lack of moral values, I don’t think is because we are evil, we are just distracted with our own selves.

Second parenthesis is closed.

A while ago talking to a dear friend, who’s dedicated his life to serving others, he told me how difficult it was for people who have this kind of jobs to have a good self-esteem. Because their jobs aren’t valued by society their self worth fades, even their dignity as human beings is affected. That is definitely a very important reason to notice and greet them. This same friend, told me: “you can’t always solve all their problems, but you can always make them feel human and worthy”

If when we attend a concert we applaud the musicians, and at the theater we give a standing ovation to the performers. I love to think that one day there will be an ovation at an airport’s toilet. A public round of applause on the middle of the street at the plumber who cleans the sewers, a “ high five” to the park gardeners… would be such an extravagance it will appear in the newspapers.

Summing it all up –thank you for reading all my rambling– next time we are wandering around a city, lets notice them. Lets look them in their eyes and thank them. Lets greet and say goodbye. Sounds useless, but trust me it is not. In my experience every “ Hello” has been received as an applause, and every “Thank You” like a kind an unexpected gift.

That, in my opinion is the best attitude a traveler and a citizen of the world can have.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset

 

 

 

 

Paris I love You

For Victor Hugo and Antoine Saint Exupery. For Balzac. For Flaubert and his wonderful “ Madame Bovary”.

For Teilhard de Chardin and his progressive mind and heart. For Descartes and his method. Because Voltaire was french. For Focault and his Queer Theory. For Pascal and Irigaray. For Jean Paul and Simone’s love. For existentialism. For so much wisdom. For curiosity.

For Cezzane and his immense influence. For Degas. For Matisse, Monet and Renoir. For the Duchamps, and my admiration for them.

For the overturn of the Emperors and what that taught us. For the French Revolution and the Human Rights Declaration. For May of 68. For the spirit of freedom that you injected to the world.

Because you are the City of Lights and that will never change. For the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. For the Rhin. For Le Marais. For the Grand Palais and Louvre. For the colorful Pompidou. For Champs Elysees and Versalles.

For Givenchy and Coco. For Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier. For Yves Saint Laurent. For Louis Vuitton.

For The Pink Panther and the Little Prince…for Cyrano de Bergerac. For Martin Romaña and Octavia de Cadiz. For Inés del Alma Mía.

For Lumiere and his cinematographer.

For Jean Luc Godard and Truffault.

For Bridgitte Bardot and Alain Delon. For Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardeu. For Marion Cotillard.

For “Leon” and “Nikita”. And for “Of Gods and Men”. For “Amelie”. For all french cinema and of course for the Cannes Festival.

For Alain Duccaisse and Pierre Hermes. For Laduree.

For champagne and for wine too.

For the fallen.

For those who died defending their truth even when I don’t share it.

For my friends.

For all the ones that I am forgetting.

For those who were heroes and those who couldn’t be.

For the ones who left and the ones are not here yet.

For all of us who are crying.

For the fear that they can’t ingrain on us.

 

 

 

Changing the world little by little…(or at least trying)

All of us, each of us, have the power to change the world.  It isn’t necessary  to become a hero or a saint, there is no need to be powerful, or rich. It would be enough to do all the ordinary things, even the boring and insignificant ones with extraordinary love, as Mother Teresa suggested. I try my best, not always can, many times lazyness or moodiness gets the best of me, but I know I must to keep trying.

Just the act of recognizing the existence of the other, as a sentient human being, makes a difference in their self-esteem. It is not possible to solve everybody’s problems but we can make them feel human, important, alive and loved.

Even though I am not an expert on this subject, I have put together a list of simple activities that we can all do in our everyday life to make a difference:

  • Recycle: It’s quite easy actually. Just buy two extra garbage bins  and advice the members of the family to separate in one plastics/glass and in the other one paper/carton. This little effort, not only helps the planet, but saves all the families that make a living from recycling of the unpleasant and often risky job of going trough our garbage.
  • Be an Informed and Responsible Consumer: Ask questions. Knowing the way our products are    fabricated is the best way to do it. As consumers we have the power to support those companies that work with social and enviromental conscience. One good example is to look for  the “Fair Trade” seal, stamped on the product or visibly displayed on the establishment. This certifies that the company pays for the farmers the fair price for their supplies.  When we buy this products we help support and assure the well being  of millions of families.

 IMG_6941_2

  • Give Away what You don’t Use: Two rules of thumb in my house: 1) If we haven’t used in 6 months, donate. 2) If we buy one new, we donate one of the same.
  • Expose Your Kids to Art: Sounds irrelevant but it is not. Art is food for the soul, it opens doors to a world o satisfaction, enriches our lives in the most amazing ways. An art lover has much more chance to enjoy life without needing violence or money. Art expands our minds, makes us more tolerant, respectful and flexible. Read to them, watch with them good cinema, visit museums or just make them notice the architecture of your city all of these will plant the seed of curiosity on them for ever.
  • Donate Money or Time:  Soon I will post on the blog some links of different organizations that do amazing work and could benefit from our support.