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We All Need To Be Seen

notices taped on a car window

Last night as I was heading to our Recycling Room (via the basement parking lot) I saw a car with a windshield covered in papers. There were pages of spreadsheet printouts and a long, somewhat rambling letter.

I was fascinated and read the entire thing. Then I got Cindy to go down and read it too.

The author (and car owner, I assume) lives on the 7th floor of our building and has been complaining about a lack of hot water for over six years. The spreadsheets are tracking the length of time for hot water to come through their taps. Measurements are taken three times per day, every day and range from a few seconds to over 3 minutes to get hot water.

Although this is the first time I have seen this, the letter beside the spreadsheets reads like a serialized novel of fighting with the landlord and building manager. Some of it is pretty wild - conspiracy theories, innuendo and alternative explanations for things that seem normal to me (planned power outages, boiler replacements, etc.)

My first reaction was to laugh and empathize with our building manager. Oh the things she has to deal with!

But then I started to feel very sad for the author of this study and letter. What must it feel like to feel so unseen? So ignored that the only option is to publish a screed on your car windshield?

And when I see this once, I see it everywhere:

  • There‚Äôs an injunction at the BC legislature threatening arrest for any protesters who block access to the legislative buildings.

  • Saskatchewan nurses sitting in at Cabinet offices, wanting to speak to the Premier and Labour Minister, but the elected officials sneak out the back door.

  • Tristen Durocher walks over 600km to Regina and fasts for a month, drawing attention to Indigenous suicide rates, and the government tries to have him removed for violating a parks bylaw .

They just want to be seen! We all want to be seen. Deserve to be seen. So much of the pain I see in the world are cries for help that are ignored. Ignored because it makes us uncomfortable. Ignored because we are afraid to be vulnerable, to say that we might be wrong or might not have all the answers.

Look around you. Who in your life, at work, at home, in your neighbourhood, is being left out and ignored right now. How can you see them more clearly?

And who do you need to see you more clearly as well?