Best of Freshman Writing
All materials on the Best of Freshman Writing site are copyright protected. Permission to reproduce the information on these pages, in any fashion, must be obtained from the authors.
This page created and
maintained by Jim Manis
Last updateded July 2, 2012.
PSU – Brandywine
Seeing the Unseen
The day I noticed her happened quite recently when I was on my way to work. As weird as it seems, reality seemed to stop, and I was able to absorb every minuscule detail about her. This nameless woman is not the thinnest, most attractive woman in the world. She is a plus-sized woman with a head of graying hair that looks as if she fought birds out of it when she awoke that morning. She uncomfortably wore the required light blue, buttoned-up shirt tucked into navy, straight-legged pants. Focusing on her facial features, behind her thick-rimmed glasses I noticed her tired but committed eyes pointed towards the ground. She looked as if she had more personal burdens on her back than just the weight of the mailbag hoisted over her shoulder. As my eyes traveled down the length of her face, over the copious number of wrinkles that have taken place over the years, I was taken aback that her mouth was turned down into a frown. Noticing this, I was hoping that she would glance up and make eye contact with me so I could give her an appreciative nod because maybe that would put a smile on her face. I began to wonder if people drive by her and give her a hard time. When I had that thought, I became perturbed and a million questions started flying through my head. Why would people give her a hard time? Do they give her a hard time about her being overweight? Do they know what she is doing for them? Do they know that, ultimately, she is making their lives easier? Do they? After all these years of that same woman being my mail carrier, that was the day I finally saw her and not just what she does for me.
Now, most readers might say, “Why should we care what she does? She was not forced to take the position as mail carrier.” It is a very true statement, but when thinking about it, no one ever notices the postal carrier. When we are driving and see the white car pulled off to the side, we are aggravated that her car is in our way. To avoid collision with her and approaching vehicles in the opposite direction, we quickly speed up to pass her before she starts moving to the next mailbox. We don’t stop and think about how happy we are that we will receive our mail that night; we just care that the mail carrier’s vehicle is in our way, thus making our lives that much more difficult than it already is. We, as human beings, take so much for granted, and we never stop and think about all the things that people do to make life effortless. And when I saw my nameless mail carrier with her eyes directed towards the ground, that is all I could think about. She believes that no one is grateful for her actions, and so she feels obligated to stay out of the way as much as possible. She has no reason to think that. She is more important than she thinks she is. If the world of computers and smart phones crash tomorrow, people will not run to the major technological companies to question what is going to happen now. They will wait by their mailboxes for the postal carrier to come by with letters from the major technological companies with news to the people of what is going to happen. She is very important, and next time I pass her walking on the street, I will honk my horn so she looks at me, and I will wave to her to let her know that there is at least one person who has noticed and appreciates what she does.
Emily Brown's essay appears here with her express written permission and cannot be reproduced in any manner or fashion without her express written permission.