Friday, March 9, 2012

You're not alone.

MJ had it right
Whether you're on the road, in the supermarket or in the gym–it is quite possible you are NOT the only person on Earth.

So my daughter (15) and I were at Costco last weekend. Standing in line at checkout and a Costco employee comes out of seemingly nowhere and drops a big red plastic hang sign on the handle bars of the cart that reads "CLOSED". Moments later a woman gets in line behind me and takes her items out of her cart, reaches OVER my cart to put hers stuff on the conveyor belt behind mine–using a plastic divider–and completely disregards the sign hanging on my cart.
Going it alone – Big Willie Style

Moments later, no fewer than three others line up behind her. After the cashier looks up from scanning my stuff, she tells everyone that the lane is closed. Every-single-person behind me is mortified. Rolling eyes, sighing, mumbling under their breath. My daughter and I then look at each other and share the "are you kidding me?" stare. How did all these people miss a 22" Closed sign in big red letters on my cart. Did they think I was buying it? How on Earth did you arrive at THAT delusional conclusion?

This scenario simply reinforces my belief that our world is NOT a bad place. We're all just unfocused. Like many of the people in Costco, if something doesn't scream out at us, we just simply don't pay attention or even worse, we just don't care.

I know why, too.

We all just have too many distractions; like spouses and significant others, careers, children, bills, the economy, war (or the threat thereof), music, iPods, iPhones, iPads, movies, television, books, the environment, our health, our weight, insurance, the housing market, The Real Housewives of Berwin, the Walking Dead, Sports Center, Angry Birds, the Khardasians, Global warming (yes its real), Charlie Sheen and the Greek bailout just to name the first two dozen examples that come to mind.

It's too much to retain so we simply zone out, tune out, shut up and stay only semi-aware of some of the things that we deem important. We become social recluses, retreating to our own comfy worlds than deal with the real one which is often scary and not very nice. We pretend we're trolls who hang out in dark places, comforted by the self-pitying idea that we're alone.

We're not.
Uh oh

Look around, there are friends, relatives, allies and spiritual boosters everywhere. More importantly, acknowledge that there are others out there. Look, people suck, I know. So much so it might make us want to tune out the world around us. Don't do it! It is imperative we remain aware of the world around us. Did you know–that texting while driving is dozens of times more deadly than even driving drunk? It's because when you drive drunk, your eyes are actually still on the road, so even though your reaction timing is shot, you still have a much better chance than someone NOT EVEN LOOKING AT THE ROAD! Even someone who falls asleep at the wheel has better response timing because they can–and here's the kicker–wake up!

So here's the solution, its simple, really. Pay better attention. Be alert to the world around you. It's not just good safety advice, its good common sense. Lets put the phone down while driving, look both ways when you cross a street, read the directions before you destroy dinner. Yes, even read the fine print. When we're snapped out of our own world, we might just realize we are not alone in it, and that's not an altogether bad thought.

Heck, you might even notice the big red Closed sign on the cart in front of you in Costco.
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