How curious, the longer I have known people the more beautiful they become. The change is gradual and unassuming. Yet the change is real none-the-less and manifests itself when least expected. Just yesterday I was struck by the sight of our AutoCAD designer. Never mind that she is 8 years older than me, nor the fact that we don't talk very often. She was standing by the door, getting ready to go home, with a radiant smile that softens the modern office decorations around her. I then took the time to look around the office, out of the faces unblocked by computers; I find that they too look better than when I first met them on the job.

How did this change occur? It can't be inner beauty surfacing, since some of them I really don't know very well. Is it the wonderful diet surrounding restaurants provide which might be both balanced and nutritious? Could it be the 8 hours a day exposure to artificial fluorescent light that makes everyone's skin less dark? Maybe the company established a new over-time compensation plan covering cosmetic surgery that I missed?

Now where did I put my company memo...

Perhaps simple visual familiarity adds to beauty. John Keith once said, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty". Maybe it takes a slow mind like mine some time to register the reality of this world. The more I see these people, the more real they become, and the more beautiful they grow.

This in itself constitutes a good reason to travel. Seeing some other people in another country, 'make' them more real. Intellectually I know the people in another country are real. Their joy equally bright, their suffering equally sharp, and their blood no less red. Yet if even the people in my office take time to become real to me, what does that say about other people whom I have never met?

It is hard to ignore people, but it is easy to discard numbers. When we are dealing with not hundreds of people, but millions of people - we generalize. People become nameless and faceless. Some of us even do it on purpose; we walk down the street looking at the ground and not at the sea of people. "I don't see you, you are not real", the Ostrich says.

Lastly, there is always the possibility that everyone looks better not because of any perception of mine. Maybe everyone looks better because it is almost time to go home.


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