The 2nd of March 2009 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(found taped up in an elevator, right above all the buttons)

Hey People –

You – all of you – are always looking down. I’m amazed at that.

I can sit by my window in my apartment and look over at the sidewalk. Every single one of you down there is staring at her own feet. You’re all bent forward, neck craned out and head pointing straight down, eyes studying the concrete you step over.

Is there something I’m missing? Has someone plastered the sidewalk with Picassos or pithy quotes from Salinger?

There are days when I want to bang on that window and shout at you all. I’d shout – just shout – to try to get a single one of you to look up because you all ignore so much.

There’s a sun, you know? It’s right there above your head, and it lights up the clouds in this magnificent way. That same sun, you know what it does? It sets every once in a while, every single day, in fact and at just about the time you all are walking home from work. It sets and it fills the sky with all these colors. There are these pinks and yellows, purples and reds and oranges. But all you can see, with your head looking down, are the greys of the sidewalk, the flashes of shiny black shoes and the swishes of whatever boring-colored pants the person in front of you wore to the office.

You’re always looking down, you know? As bad as it is that you ignore the world, as bad as that is – a gross and terrible kind of ignorance – you also ignore each other.

I take this elevator every single day, and I take it a couple of times a day, too. I press my button or call for someone to press it for me, then I rock on my heels and twiddle my thumbs. It’s an elevator packed with silence, morning, noon and night. It’s an elevator full of people staring down still, diving headfirst into their phone screens.

We could talk, you know? I’m sure at least one out of all of you have something interesting to say. I’m sure you all do. It’d at least be nice to get to know you. It’d at least be nice to see your face.

So please, look at a sunset. Smile at a stranger. Maybe you could try to talk to them. But the least you could do is bring your head up, you know?

Sincerely,

Wendell

Apartment 2435B

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