Funny, but when I wear my OTIS Elevator shirt, nobody knows me.
I can walk around downtown and pass by people who actually know me pretty well — but they just don’t see me.
They see the shirt. And they figure, "This guy must be an elevator repair guy." But I’m not carrying any tools. Except my Macintosh.
Still, they sail past me.
It’s like Daniel Gilbert describes in Stumbling on Happiness.
He points out early — in his best-selling, exquisite, charming dissection of your brain — that we react to things before we know what they are. Our brains prescribe what to do — run!, for example — before our brains decode what it is we are facing.
Just a little stimulus and a little perception — and we are flung into action by our own instincts.
A smart friend of mine called his book "life changing." I agree. It unlocks your path to happiness — from the perspective of a Harvard psychology professor. (And who am I to argue? I’m just here to fix the elevator.)
I like the anonymity. I’m no celebrity, but ordinarily — when I walk the
sidewalks downtown — I’m lucky enough to find a conversation on just about every
So wearing my workman’s costume is strangely efficient. I find others
walking past, when otherwise — if I were in my bow-tied advertising man
get-up — we’d stop and chat.
The spontaneous chats are lovely. They’re life-affirming.
But there’s something delightful and swift about walking down the street invisibly.
Which reminds me: You just walked past me yesterday. I paused and smiled at you. Started to reach out my hand.
And you just walked right past me.
Then I realized: I’m just here to fix the elevator?