Many years ago having just graduated from college I couldn’t find work. Wait a minute. That sounds like my most recent college degree but no job experience…but I digress. Back in the 70’s I was working through a temporary agency and one of my assignments was to demonstrate the newly introduced Kodak Instant Camera which was directly competing with the more established Polaroid.
I was standing in the camera department of some big store, asking people if they wanted to have their pictures taken with the new camera. Surprisingly many did. They got to keep the photo and got a coupon for a discount off the camera. Over the two or three days of the demo I began to notice that a lot of people look like each other. That maybe there are only a handful of facial bone structures in existence. That maybe we’re all more alike than we realize.
Now more than 30 years later I’m noticing this phenomenon again. I see people that look familiar as I work at my new job back at the old bank. People coming and going seem familiar, but I realize I’m not sure why. Are they people I worked with four years ago? Or do they just remind me of people I knew while at school? Or from my job at the library in between? Or are they people I knew when I was a runner? People in the bands I’ve played with?
I feel like I’ve had many separate lives over the years. And sometimes I forget that people from my life at a bank in the Upper Peninsula don’t know my running friends from downstate, that the people I worked with at the mortgage company don’t know the library patrons I used to help, or the people that I’ve shared a music stand with.
It all seems like one seamless experience to me; though the life experiences have been pretty segregated I think that all the people I’ve met and known, talked to, commiserated with, all those people are pretty much the same. Their faces are starting to run together as is my history of friends and acquaintances, all running together in a fluid stream of experience.
Lately when I see someone familiar approaching and smiling at me I smile back while racking my brain to figure out what part of my life they might have been in. Where I knew them. If I knew them. Who they are.
Maybe it’s just that everyone looks alike and there’s only a handful of facial bone structures in the world. Maybe we’re all more alike then we know.