The After Hours

Marsha White is looking for a gift for her mother in a department store. She is taken to the ninth floor of a store that only has eight floors.  The sales woman on the ninth floor greets Marsha as if she knows her, selling her the gift she wants for her mother, and asks her if she is happy. Put off by the manner in which the sales woman speaks to her, Marsha makes her way back downstairs to the main level of the store and notices the gift she purchased is dented and needs to speak to someone in the complaint’s department. Marsha finds the complaints department to discuss the dented gift and the need for a replacement. While speaking to the manager, Marsha mentions she purchased the gift on the ninth floor which doesn’t exist. When asked who sold her the gift, Marsha points out the woman on the sales floor only to find out she is a store mannequin. Confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed by the situation, Marsha wonders around the store trying to make sense of her current situation and eventually falls asleep. Upon waking, Marsha finds herself locked in the department store after the store closes and takes herself back up to the ninth floor. When the elevator doors open, Marsha realizes the ninth floor is where the mannequins are stored. Once Marsha exits the elevator, the mannequins come to life and they help her remember, that she too is a mannequin. Each mannequin has one month to “live” among the humans in the real world and at the end of that month, they must return to the store and resume their “life” as a mannequin so the next mannequin can experience life. 

The closing narration of this episode is “Marsha White, in her normal and natural state, a wooden lady with a painted face who, one month out of the year, takes on the characteristics of someone as normal and as flesh and blood as you and I. But it makes you wonder, doesn’t it, just how normal are we? Just who are the people we nod our hellos to as we pass on the street? A rather good question to ask . . . particularly in the Twilight Zone.”

I want to focus this week’s blog on the closing narration and not the episode. I would like to especially focus on the line “Just who are the people we nod our hellos to as we pass on the street?” So many of us walk through life seeing people as if they are mannequins, features of the landscape around us but rarely seeing them for who they really are. We are so busy with our own lives and what we think is important, that we rarely pay attention to other people that make up our lives, from the cashier at the store, your neighbors, or the barista handing us our morning coffee. We take for granted the people in our lives, even if they are only there in passing. We fail to see people as having their own story.

What would happen if we started to pay more attention to the people that we come into contact with everyday? What if we stopped what we were doing to see them, really see them and get to know them, ask them about their day, learn something about them, and be grateful they are a part of your life, even if it is just for a minute. What if we thought about how they not only play a role in our day but how we play a role in their day? How would your interactions with them change? 

I believe that if we stop for a moment and acknowledge everything and everyone that makes our lives possible and makes our lives better, we will be living life from a place of gratitude. Living from a place of gratitude creates a life of living in the moment, acknowledging the people, places, and events that you are experiencing, and how they directly impact you. Living from a place of gratitude also stops us from living on autopilot and seeing people as just fixtures in the landscape and to start seeing them as players in the story of our lives. 

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