Everyone needs to get tapped sometimes

bmw


(50 seconds to read)

I was parallel parking this morning and a woman was sitting in a new shiny BMW behind where I was parking. I got out and she beckoned me. I thought I had boxed her in.

“Did I box you in?” I asked. She had long black hair, and fine cheek bones, she was expressionless, eyes hidden behind her sunglasses. She answered me no, but as I moved off she said something else. I couldn’t hear, so I approached her. “What?” I asked.

“You tapped my car,” she said. My heart sank and my eyes grew wide. “Oh no,” I put my hands to my face. “Really?

“Yes,” but she was weirdly calm. “It’s fine,” she paused, then said, “We all need to get tapped sometimes.” I  nodded warily, and moved off, worried and uncomfortable.

I thought about it later, after settling into my chair in the cafe, opening my laptop to work. I thought how she was being petty, seeking attention, and I grew angry…Then I stopped and thought, She was seeking attention…from me. “Everyone needs to get tapped sometimes”?  She was hitting on me. And I had totally missed it.

I missed it because I was worried about myself. Giving others the attention and love they are seeking, and deserve, this requires confidence. Which is the opposite of fear. The fear that filled me when someone told me I had just bumped their spotless, current model BMW.

Oy.

She said something, and I missed it

Cell-Phone-Conversation


(1 min to read)

So that’s why I had to leave, she concluded.

Ack, what was she talking about?

She’d been talking about her mother, and how her mother had helped her sister, and not her, and then something…I’d gotten lost. I hadn’t been paying attention.

All attention is paid for. I paid my attention to…god-knows-what… instead of her. We all must lose something in giving something. Opportunity cost: I choose to go out to this movie, with this person, and so I don’t get to go to the park with that other person, or I sacrifice reading a book, or writing a book, or a writing a song.

And then there’s the attention you put towards everything in life. That attention is your time, and you’re paying it constantly, towards your choosing. But even when you’re not choosing, you’re still choosing to do something with your time. You’re paying… I’m paying… for everything, all the time!

The payment of your attention is a special payment. It’s the payment that invests. With the person you’re interacting with, you pay attention in order to gain something and give something directly back.

It may be the highest payment a person can give.


Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.

Please feel free to pass this along if you think others would enjoy it.

 

Yeast makes bread, beer, and men

beer hot tub

(Pin it here to read later)

The boy at the sales counter picked up the can. “What’s this?” he asked his father.
“It’s to grow yeast,” his father said, as he paid for his things.
“Yee-ust?” the boy said.
“Yeast,” his father said.
“What’s that?” the boy asked.
The question hung in the air, as the clerks bagged the beers and said nothing. I waited a few seconds, hesitating, then said, “Yeast are living things, they’re really small, so you can’t see them, but they’re all around. They float in the air, and they can be on this counter top.” I patted the countertop.
The boy looked at me with simple amazement. Then he turned to his father, for some kind of confirmation or reassurance. The father was getting his receipt but stopped and nodded.
I continued: “Do you see when your food goes bad, and it gets black, or brown? That’s yeast and other small living things like it.”
“I’ve seen green stuff,” the boy said excited.
“Yes,” I nodded, “that’s yeast growing on the food, They’re eating the food.”
“Yes,” the father said, “There’s good yeast and bad yeast.” Then he grabbed his bags. “Say thank you.” he said.
The boy wasn’t paying attention. The father prodded him, and looked at me, “say thank you”. I was surprised he was telling the boy to thank me.
“Thank you,” the boy said distracted, still thinking over the idea of these invisible things that surround him.
“Thank you,” the father looked at me earnestly. “You’re welcome,” I told them.
And the two left.
And then I thought, I think I just blew that kid’s mind.
The child’s curiosity. Why did we lose it?

Follow me and I will take you away from the everyday.

Engage. You don’t need to be an expert.

Do we talk to other people about what we’re doing? About what they’re doing? Do we ask why we do what we do..buy what we buy, bank who we bank with..eat what we eat..send our kids to the schools that we send them to, fund the wars that kill for goals we support? Do we not only talk, but do we listen to what they’re saying…and even more importantly, think about what they really mean?

Are we trying to be members of a community, or do we see everyone as doing their own thing, a zero sum game, as passengers on a ship out of our control? Or do we see ourselves as part of it, as responsible for it, unafraid of facing the problems of our society?

Why we don’t do these things is addressed by Meslin. He says: “As long as we believe that people, our own neighbors, are selfish, stupid or lazy, then there’s no hope.” We must recognize this, because it is the collective that is going to change things. And once we accept this, we must have a conversation.

Politics isn’t a bad word unless you’re using it to win an argument, or give yourself an identity. Politics, in fact, is probably the most important thing to talk about right now. Not partisanship…but politics. There’s only one thing more important, and that’s figuring out that you belong in the conversation because you’re not an island onto yourself. That’s what Obama meant, but couldn’t really express.

We’re not different than anyone else, regardless of what they’re doing out there. The guy between jobs, the CEO, or the small businessperson. We have the opportunity to decide because people believed so much in the idea that we’re all equal, that they were willing to die for a system that could give us the power to decide…and it DID give ALL OF US the power to decide. And we must decide, or else the institutions, corporate and government, they will do it for us. And I think these institutions have gotten too big to handle our needs. It’s up to us to start this conversation.

Now, it’s up to us.