Monday, August 10, 2009

Eat My Dust

I want to make a plug for awareness. It is such a gift to give those around us to be conscious and aware. It is easier said than done. Many of us walk through life, going through the motions, on auto pilot and oblivious to the impact we have on others.

I attended a dinner at a local organic farm over this past weekend. The event included a tour of the farm and then a fabulous dinner in a meadow.

I had to arrive a little late and as a result missed part of the tour. When I arrived I parked near the entrance and walked up the road to join up with the tour.

As I was walking along the gravel road, a car came up behind me. I stepped to the side of the road. I had noticed that this car was approaching rather quickly, but was sure that as they passed me on the dusty gravel road they would slow down. That, it turns out, was a very incorrect assumption.

The car went blazing by me - leaving me in a cloud of dust!

I saw the car pull over near some of the organizers of the event and the woman in the rolled down her window and started speaking to them. I heard her apologize for being late. (She ended up being the representative for the winery that was featured in the dinner menu).

I walked by the car and continued along the road to catch up to the tour. As I got close to the group I heard the same car approaching from behind me. This time there were about 30 people near me on either side of the road. I stepped to the side and again, this woman sped past in her car, kicking up a horrible plume of dust that coated me and the other 30 people taking the tour. There were a few choice words spoken by some of the other guests. I said, "That's the second time she got me!"

Did she not notice? Was she so consumed with her self and her life that she couldn't be bothered to observe that her actions were generating unpleasant and destructive conditions for MANY other people around her? She was late. She had responsibilities. Nothing else mattered. Even if it meant that she was going to alienate her 'customers' and cover us all with dust that would be with us for the entire evening! It was incredible!

I think that this was kind of an extreme version of something that happens all too often in life. We get so caught up in our responsibilities, our needs, taking care of business that we don't pay attention to how are actions affect others. We might drive fast or aggressively, be impatient with people who are waiting on us because we are in a hurry, rush through interactions that deserve our attention... it can look any number of ways.

The bottom line is that it's easy to leave others to deal with the results of our actions when they don't deserve it.

Attention... and awareness. These are qualities that will make the world a better place.