Being the strange human being that I am, I like to make little challenges for myself. Unlike most normal human being challenges that involve actual talent and persistence, my challenges typically to lean towards “easiest challenge ever” on the scale of 1-to-mediocrity.
For example, last month I decided that I would not go to the grocery store for the rest of fall term (5 weeks). I would survive off of a Costco pack of Ramen noodles and left-overs that I hoarded from various places (sign me up for the next season of Survivor?). Needless to say, this plan obviously failed because I miscalculated my ratio of leftovers to meals, and therefore was forced to visit the grocery store. You win some, you lose some…
My latest “challenge” (if you can even call it that) is to eat at every single restaurant around 13th street on campus. If you want to get metaphorical, you could say that this challenge correlates to my inner desire to try new things and expand my horizons…But really, I’m just a hungry girl who doesn’t always have time to cook for myself. And, I’m lazy.
In my experience as a newly self-appointed food critic of 13th avenue, there is one place that I have developed a sincere love for. My affection doesn’t come from the deliciousness of the food, but rather the woman behind it. This woman is Shari Chrissis, also known as “The Hot Dog Lady”.
I’ve always seen her on her little corner, but last week I finally gave her hotdog stand a try. Interestingly enough, the hot dog stand has a very intriguing story. In my new obsession with the hot dog lady, I researched her and came across this wonderful video by some UO Journalism students (Gateway to Media — Oh, the memories…)
I admire this woman because she truly cares about each and every person she talks to, and makes them feel important. I went to her hotdog stand one time, and I was taken aback by her sincere interest in what I had to say. She asked me all sorts of questions, and I could tell that she actually listened to my responses.
The second time I visited her, she said “How are you doing today, Kelsey? How did your midterm go?”
Here, this woman who speaks with hundreds of students on any given day, remembered exactly who I was, and what was going on with my life. To her, this was just business as usual. But for me this was a huge moment. In that moment, I felt important and special.
In these days of speedy technology, fast food, and instant communication, we are so accustomed to doing everything as quickly as possible. Sometimes we forget the importance of taking the time to appreciate things. When I had that experience at the hot dog stand, I realized how important it is to stop and smell the roses.
It’s not about the hotdogs. It’s about genuinely caring about each other. Make people feel important — it’s as simple as taking the time to listen.