I'm not sure when we started doing it but The Hub and I like to leave notes for each other on the mirror. We use a dry-erase marker which works exceptionally well. In fact, if you are ever hurting for "thinking space" and are just achy all over for a chalkboard or a white board but have neither, remember dry erase cleans easily off of mirrors and windows. This has come in handy for me a number of times and must be something I do often since recently The Hub was working on a logo for a client and asked The Kid to help him brainstorm. She promptly walked to my desk, picked up a dry-erase and headed to the full-length mirror on the back of the door to sketch out some concepts.
Man, I love that kid.
Anyway, we keep a dry-erase marker in the bathroom. Mostly I use it to keep track of if I've taken my vitamins and medicine that day. If I don't write it down, I forget. And I know you are thinking "why not get a pill case?" and obviously the answer to that is "because I'm not 65" (no offense, honey). So I simply write it on the mirror up in the corner when I've taken my pills. Of course, once a marker is in my hand, it is certainly hard to stop with a pill notation. So often I will shift my focus from my side of the mirror to The Hub's side and write a little message. And often, he'll do the same.
It's nice. Nice to wake up in the morning or come home at night at find a little note on the mirror. "xoxox" on his side or "Hot Chick" with arrows on my side or a simple "I love you!!!!!" excessive exclamation points running right off the side of the mirror. Most of these messages have been in the margins of the mirror but there are a couple that have been scrawled right across the middle. I love it that we do this. I think it says a lot about us as a couple. I love it that we find these messages. I love that we leave these messages. Each message stays up for a while but eventually, they get wiped off. Wiped off and forgotten.
I say sort of because the messages reappear with every hot shower taken in that bath.
I never noticed it on any other mirror – I guess because no other mirrors get steamed up the way a bathroom mirror does – but every time I get out of the shower I can see there in the foggy mist on the mirror the messages that have been left for me and the messages I've left behind. I giggle. Every time. Not just because of the message itself but because I like to think about the people who someday will own this house. The people who will come after us. The people who will unknowingly one day take a shower in this bathroom, peel the curtain back and be greeted with "STUD MUFFIN" and "SEXY DOWN TO YER UNDAPANTS!" on the mirror. That just rocks.
Not long ago I was on an airplane. I desperately wanted to sleep on the flight. I really, really needed to rest and I really, really had a long and tiring day. I brought nothing on the flight with me to do. No notebook, no puzzle, no book to flip through. All I wanted to do, the only thing I intended to do was either sleep the sleep of the dead or bob and nod the whole way home. All of this, of course, made for a perfect time for someone to sit next to me and talk to me.
I knew it was going to happen. I knew it as he came bumping down the aisle. Even though he gave no indication, yet, of where he was sitting, I knew he was going to be in the middle seat next to me. And even though he looked as tired and weary and beat up as I felt, I knew he was going to talk to me. Don't ask me how I knew. I just knew because I know. Because it happens all the time. Call it the universe, call it empathy, call it divine intervention all I know is something happens in my insides when I see someone that I'm going to be asked to connect with. There is a recognition. A knowledge. And I know at some point the person will reach out to me in some way and I will have the chance to say yes or no. Fast forward 30 minutes into the flight … 30 minutes into me pretending to sleep … 30 minutes into me doing everything I can think of to NOT connect with the gentleman next to me when he says quite out of the blue, "So tell me what you do for a living."
And I, still not wanting to acknowledge the giant tap tap tap on my shoulder, made exactly zero eye contact and said, "Oh, I'm a consultant." Thinking this was the least interesting of all of my job titles.
"A consultant!" he cries, "Well, tell me all about that."
And I looked up to the heavens, whispered you win and turned in my seat to have a conversation. And converse we did. For the rest of the 3 hour flight home. We talked about kids and spouses and parents. We talked about divorces and his marriages and high school and business. We talked about health issues and past failures. We talked and talked and talked. And, like always, I was so glad I didn't stay tucked up inside of myself. I was so glad I didn't resist the opportunity to connect. I was so glad I listened. At one point, after confessing to me that he never talks to people on planes and didn't understand why he was talking so much to me, he told me about a meeting that was coming up for him and how anxious he was about it. Maybe he thought I'd let him off the hook because our flight had begun descending but nothing doing. I dug a little deeper on this (it takes forever to land anyway) and I asked him what he was worried about. Asked him what the big deal was. Asked him, "What's the worst that can happen?"
He chuckled, tried to make light of it, waved it away with his hand and said, "Oh you know how people are." I said I didn't know how people were, he should tell me. And then I waited. He shook his head briefly and then changed his voice. He dropped it down into a baritone. He pulled the corners of his mouth down and grumbled out, "What a waste of time this was … was that the best you can do? What a total joke."
There it was. And before he could roll past it, before he could laugh it away, before he could change the subject or turn to pack up his laptop and papers I said, "Hold up … whose voice was that?"
Blank. Just a blank look back at me.
"Just now," I said, "when you said 'what a waste of time, what a joke' you were imitating someone … who? Whose voice was that?"
I think we descended 1000 feet just staring at each other. And he didn't break that stare as his eyes welled up and he said, "My father … that's my father's voice."
And I guess all I'm saying is this: as a leader, a spouse, a parent, a friend … be careful what you write on someone else's mirror. It will be reflected back to them for a long, long time. And other people … well, we can see it too.