Series 'CONNECTED' Number 1 / by Micah Mackenzie



I remember my grandmother taking me downtown to Woolworth's. We would sit and have a cheeseburger, fries and an ice-cold coke. Then we would shop around for bargains and I would take in all the little ol' ladies. They were all so nice and colorful. It was a pastel time in my life. That's where the love for people watching began.

My favorite person to watch was Ms. Gahniva, or that's how I remember addressing that beautiful lady. She had a gum disease that some would say had deformed her face. I thought she was unique, kind, and accepting with a child's inner sight. I did not judge her on beauty, but on how she treated me. She still outshines most people I have known and probably will know while on this earth. True story. For those who have lived in Asheville since that time, you will know this story to be true. Ms. Gahniva would walk down the street balancing a 2 liter coke bottle on her head. Seemingly, she barely noticed it was there. I always wanted a drink from that 2 liter bottle. It must be something special! She would also talk to pigeons. They would keep pace and follow her about. I never knew the language but they definitely would talk back.

We all have a beautiful story on our faces.

I see so many people I know in other people's faces. I have done this for the longest time. That connects me to them, and yet I wonder what they see. I've been told I have a doppelgänger in Charleston who I have yet to meet. I hope he is faring well after the recent storms there. 

Sometimes, the connection is fleeting, gone as I pass by. Other times, it deepens and the paths and story threads of two human strangers meet and time is changed. When I am going through a day and I start to feel it all colliding together and losing focus, I slow down and refocus. Those blurry moments are what I recognize and take time out for. This awareness in myself allows all the right steps to take place in order for me to experience someone or something new, someone or something that I haven't ever met before. Good things often come when you are open to them.

Today was such a day for me and I look forward to sharing a project I am calling, 'Connected.' Without a doubt, I see it. I have no control over not seeing it. As the simple and yet THE most impossible task if you can read, to see a word and not read it. I see the paths as they slightly collide and miss by seconds into inches. I have never seen such a lovely dance. No one knows the steps but it is all ebb and flow and we are all caught up in it.

I will sit in one spot for hours and just observe.

I will sit in one spot for hours and just observe.

I recently decided to try and capture what I see and feel is happening between all of us. Those missed encounters by mere seconds, happening every moment. The future is determined by you and those that shape it around you.