In My Ohio

On the Adoration of Strangers

Darren C. Demaree
Please consider the intimacy of existence. We share everything; environment, economy, general health and well-being, our moods and dispositions, and finally we share a visual world that at times behaves with hostility towards us all. It is a very loud and violent world, which leads (understandably so) to fear and hesitant acts toward each other. We are influenced to be brisk and loud as both a waving of our own, personal flag and as a demonstration of our physical being. We are alien to each other, and that is surely an awful thing to experience on a daily basis.

So, Ohio, grand people so close to what I am, please know that when I see you outside the library or the store or the game or my daughter’s preschool, please know that when I lower my head to you briefly I am doing so because I feel a sincere reverence towards you. I adore you. It is a completely unjustified emotion, because I know as little about you as you know about me. I have big glasses and a beard, and often I am moving quickly, silently past you in the normal hurry of the day. I do not appear to be a willing participant in your life, but I am.

I lower my head in prostration. Not in defenestration (I am neither sad nor apologetic towards the world) or in fear of you, but as an acknowledgment to you that I see you and recognize your movements are as valued as mine are, no matter what path we may be on.

I don’t need a hug, nor do I think you do. I do, however, believe firmly in the intrinsic worth of every human experience. It’s odd and abstract, but without the confirmation of the divine, it may be the highest our efforts can aim, directly towards each other.

It is a small, weird thing I do in even telling you that every time we have passed each other I thought about you a little, even if I quickly moved on to the everything and the nothing reactions taking place deep in my psyche, but I wanted to make sure you knew.

We spend so much time speaking to the qualities in a person that earn love, and I would argue what we are really speaking of is earning trust. I think it’s a simple thing (not naïve) to begin in a place of adoration. If you choose to behave in a manner that removes that possibility, then so be it. My only hope is that when we pass again the next time, you will have a positive energy in your motion towards me, and as that energy quickly fades with your own momentum, know that I appreciated just the opportunity of your presence.

I say again, please consider the intimacy of existence. Your nature affects mine as much as mine affects yours. I will do my best to aid you in your best, even if all I can give you is a slight motion, is my own effort on display, for you.