SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 292: “What If We Pay More Attention?”

I’ll not lie… from the beginning of 365 I promised you that I would do the best to describe my feelings in one way or the other. And I have to confess that I am feeling some extreme fatigue as I drive, stuck on a traffic jammed highway 101 in route to a production meeting later this afternoon.

And even though 365 has grown my outlook towards the people around me, as well as the love I have for those I don’t know in appreciating our differences, I have to say that today with three-hundred days of writing, interviewing, photo-imaging, less the six days I have dedicated to challenges, I am feeling a lot of stress. Stress brought on from the cumulative two to seven hour I’ve spent daily since the inception of 365 way back in September.

But even with this stress, it is impossible for me to not acknowledge the personal growth that I have gained, as well as the closeness I feel, in a bizarre vicarious way, to you my readers.

Feeling that I am experiencing in an overwhelming way as I commute. And thanks to that fun little dictation add that I have on my iPad, feelings that I am able to record as I navigate the traffic that I am captured in.

I have not yet meet my stranger turned friend for the day yet, and I have no idea what was in store for me. It’s 11:18am and my meeting is at 2:00pm, giving me two-hours to socialize with the world. We’ll see what happens.

In the avoidance of another traffic citation, probably best to shut down this driving dictation right now. I pick it back up in a few hours…

… OK, I’ve arrived… Picking it up at the Pacific Design Center (PDC), site of my meeting – now only sixty minutes away. I sit in the lobby, and as per 365 custom dictates, and despite of my earlier mentioned fatigue, I smile and nod at all who pass by.

As expected, most gesture back with a questioning curiosity, “Who is this guy? What does he want with me?”

No harm, no foul taken. After all, I am an absolute stranger and to be skeptical of the darkly dressed dude sitting in the center of a very open space is quite an acceptable human reaction. So no judgment cast, we are all busy, and have our own personal set of experience. It is quite natural to be guarded to those we don’t know, one has to assume.

But one thing strikes me funny… I think of the isolated drive in the packed traffic that got me here, and comparing it to the scarcity of those I find myself cohabitating with, in the air-conditioned bliss of the wide public areas of the PDC I am forced to contemplate. And in this contemplation, I calculate one common denominator: The invisible wall that we all too often place between ourselves and the world around us, while in automobile or on foot it matters not. What is of resonance is the lesson learned in the observation, “At too many time we are a divided people.”

I do an experiment in going to the door to open it for others. Most are grateful of the gesture, and even then, there are a few people who scurry by frightened by my outreach. I can’t fully figure it out.

Makes me question, “What if we all just trust a little more. Not saying that we have to completely drop our walls. There is good reason for them at many a time. Still though… I just ask that we be a little more aware of each other.

Here I am at the PDC, clock ticking down to meeting time, most people avoiding me, when I meet Levi.

“Make what you love… It is the best thing you can do for yourself,” He councils.

“I think I can only speak for myself…” Levi say, “… My agenda is me first… which is probably quite similar to the rest of the human race.”

Don’t judge, until you hear Levi’s reasoning.

Levi speaks of me first, but the more you get to know him, you quickly understand Levi is not caught up in egotism and self-absorption.

“I just feel like if I curate my life, and the people that I love, in the manner that I desire, my world is going to be a lot better and more enjoyable. But it is really important that in all the things that I do, that they are also good for other people. You know… we can only make a little change by ourselves. But, at least for the immediate influence for those around us, it can make somewhat of a difference.

It’s like if people make smart cars. Only one person is going to own that car, so by buying it, they are really helping themselves by owning the car and are not hurting the rest of the people around them.

I’m a super on the fence, type of deal, I don’t think there’s too many people that actually make an effort to teach things where a lot of other people learn, but it is a lead by example type deal for me. Where if people start paying attention they might learn something.

Levi, thanks for the neighborly chat my friend, hope to run into you again!

And thanks for your example… “What if people start paying more attention?”