Everyone with whom we come in contact makes an impression on us. Imagine this as an invisible rubber stamp. These stamps form layers on us, not unlike an onion, but some cover others and go deeper and deeper into us. Others remain superficial, but they’re still there. The stamps remain with us whether we wish them to or not.

Stamps are made from birth. Our parents stamp us first with love, experiences, and didactics. These stamps are deep and lasting. We’re stamped by teachers, friends, bosses, and coworkers. Stamps also come from those we meet only briefly and sometimes not even in person. We are stamped by books and letters, email and blogs like this. We don’t feel the stamps, but they are there.

I’ve been stamped by travel and those with whom I’ve come in contact while traveling. Many of them, of course, don’t even speak English but have stamped me with a look or a gesture. Something as simple as eye contact can produce a stamp.

I had a fun job not too long ago at a concert venue in a western state. I remember one evening when I was alone in a hallway with a huge country star backstage and, although we didn’t speak, I watched him walk, we made eye contact, and I instantly formed a lasting opinion of this person that remains with me to this day. I was stamped. Had he smiled a simple smile, my entire stamp would have changed. In that single second, I decided that his music (which I previously loved) wasn’t so great and that he wasn’t nearly the star I thought he was. He didn’t do anything to me or make me feel anything at all. It wasn’t a situation where he should have spoken with me and didn’t, nor was it the other way around. It was just a moment. Sometimes I wonder what kind of stamp I exchanged with him. He doesn’t remember me, I’m sure… I’m not anybody he should know or remember, but it’s true that somehow I stamped him too.

When work is available, I work as a background extra for television here in Chicago. Being an extra means a lot of standing around being human wallpaper. It also gives me the opportunity to observe a lot of people go about their work. Some days I get a barrage of stamps and the experience is exhausting. I wonder what stamps I return to them as I quietly watch. It is impossible to be invisible in any situation. Although we feel invisible, we’re still stamping others. My opinion of a number of people, without even speaking with them, has changed for the better or the worse depending on how they stamp me.

I’m stamped by stories, movies, television, magazines, facebook, twitter, causal encounters, and lasting friendships. I’d like to believe that most of these stamps are in italic with pretty floral borders. I know many of them are not and I try to keep them hidden away in a separate layer from the rest. Sometimes they surface and temporarily obliterate the pretty ones. I’d like to think that we are like that onion that grows another layer.

I want to send you a pretty floral stamp. Please enjoy.

Published in: on October 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

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