Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

It's Labor Day, and I have just seen The Butler (twice actually), and I'm thinking about those people who work to serve us (us being everyone, as we are all served at one time or another). No one I know has a butler, but there are many others who serve--the traffic cop who steers us around the accident, the farmer who rises early to  tend to the fields, the babysitter who watches  our children, the man who mows the lawn, the clerk in the store, the nurse, the trash collector, the delivery truck driver, the teacher, the painter. The list could go beyond next Labor Day.

I think it's good to set aside a day to think about how we are served by others, how we serve others. As I muse over my oatmeal this morning, I stop to consider how many people worked to put this meal on my table, from the farmer who grew the oats to the potter who made the bowl it sits in, from the stocker who put the coffee on the shelf at the market to the designer who created the mug from which I drink, from the pharmacist who prepares my calcium pills to the clerk at COSTCO where I purchased them. If you stop to consider it, we are all intimately connected.  Yet, in our rush to be about the business of our lives, we don't often think of this. These other people, upon whom our lives depend, are, for the most part, anonymous.

The Whitehouse maître d in The Butler told him,  "You hear nothing. You see nothing.
You only serve."  When I was teaching I rarely sat down for breakfast at home. Frequently I used Dunkin' Donuts Drive Thru on my way to work. The same woman
every morning would smile and hand me my medium hazelnut and a glazed donut. She would take my money and wish me a good day. All this was done with efficiency and pleasantness. Yet, I never knew her name. I never asked. I was too much in a hurry. I wonder if she had children at home she had to leave to be up at that early hour. I wonder if she had to hold another job to pay her rent.

In celebration of that anonymous woman at Dunkin' Donuts and all those who serve silently, I am going  to make it a point today to thank those I come in contact with who are serving me. I hope I keep it up tomorrow and beyond.

1 comment:

  1. You've got me rewinding my day and imagining it without servers. No one to check me in at the gym, no yoga instructor, no one at the farm stand to sell fresh veggies, no one at the bank to let me into my safe deposit box, no one at the library to check out my books (although there is an automated check out stand, I really like to chat with the women behind the desk), no one to deliver my mail, and on and on. Think of all the things I'd have to do for myself! Yikes!
    Linda O.

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