Thursday, August 06, 2009

Convenient Oblivion

I was at dinner with a friend the other night in a really nice restaurant. It was a beautiful summer night, and we were sitting on the outdoor patio, overlooking Lake Washington.

As we chatted away, I noticed two women at the table next to us. They were deeply engaged in conversation. One of them had a light sweater tucked over the arm of her chair. I saw her sweater slip off the chair onto the ground. I was about to tell her about it, when the waiter walked up to their table.

I thought surely that he would pick up the sweater and hand it back to her, or at least tell her about it.

He didn't. In fact, he even stepped over the sweater as he left the table.

Again, I was going to tell her about it, and a bus person came by and stepped over her sweater!

I was stunned.

I decided to do a little unofficial study and see just how long it would be before anyone told this woman her sweater was on the ground.

No one ever did.

She finally picked up her sweater when she got up to leave the restaurant.

I was just amazed at how many people could see her very nice sweater, lying on the ground, and not be courteous enough to pick it up and hand it back to her. Especially the people who work at the restaurant.

I think it speaks to a more serious problem in our cultural consciousness. People are often quite oblivious to what is happening around them, and are so into their own worlds that they ignore the situations that could benefit from their attention.

We become so self absorbed that we don't notice what is happening to the people around us, to our environment, to our government. We just ignore it and continue barreling down our path.

We're all busy. We all have too much to do. Too much stress and pressure rests on our shoulders. Taking time out to be concerned or courteous towards others, or the planet, just seems like a bother at times.

Taking that time, however, is what makes us human. We have the ability to make a huge difference in the world by being aware, alert and acting in a mature and considerate way.

Next time you notice something that everyone around you is being oblivious to... I hope you will consider taking action!