Thursday, September 6, 2007

At first glance

I parked my car on my town's main street today so that I could run to the ATM. A few feet in front of me I noticed a well dressed man sitting on a bench. He was wearing a jacket and tie and a baseball cap. The cap was a bit incongruous but hey, the sun is strong here in Israel and maybe he was bald and wanted to protect his head. He was talking. There was no one else on the bench so I assumed he was using a bluetooth earpiece. I saw all this in the few seconds it took to get out of my car.

When I finished at the bank and came back across the street, I notice that the man's pants and his shirt and jacket were horribly mismatched. I started to wonder. Who wears a long-sleeved shirt in the midday sun, let alone a jacket and tie too? Even our prime minister almost never wears a tie. It's just not necessary here for most jobs, and certainly not for sitting on a bench.

Then I noticed that he didn't have an earpiece.

Then I noticed a sort of odd cyclical pattern of illogical words and rocking movements.

Apparently this wasn't some businessman waiting for a client.

My city does not have a homeless problem (in general Israel doesn't have all that many homeless, though of course even a few is too many). He didn't have any bags, so hopefully this man, who is apparently suffering from some type of "something", has a clean, safe place to call home.

Still, looking at him, realizing how much I had missed at first glance, made me wonder just how much of the world am I missing as I go racing by. What else, or even who else, lies hidden just under the surface, waiting for someone to notice.


Jeremy said...

An interesting post Robin, I unfortunately spend a lot of time sitting in airports waiting for planes and I have a lot of time to observe people. A first cursory glance and you make a lot of decisions in those first few seconds about a person that will change if you spend any amount of time closely observing them.

The problem in society today is we are always in a hurry to accomplish what we set out to do and sometimes we look right past people and then out of our peripheral vision we make those assumptions and go right along with our life. Maybe in part it's because we don't want to become involved in other peoples lives especially if we perceive that they have problems such as being homeless or they may have a mental illness. But I have to be honest from sitting in those airports it's not the people that may have a mental imbalance or may have financial woes that bother me, in fact it's the exact opposite the people that have wealth, it's the people that seem to have everything that are the people that bother me because in many cases they are the people who view the other people as not even being there. Now mind you this is not a blanket statement against people who have money, but there becomes with some people an air of arrogance as they aquire more and more financialy.

It seems the only time that some of those people will take the time to see you is when they are forced to sit next to you on an airplane for eight hours on the tarmac in a storm. It's such a shame that the only time we see people is when one is absolutely forced to be near them.

Again an interesting, and an enlightening post well written. On another note congratulations on the kids getting off to school. It's an exciting time.

Mom not Mum said...

It is amazing how much we miss on an average day. I know people who get so focused on what they are doing they miss all that is going on around them. I had a friend who, while driving her car, was so focused forward she would never see you waving obnoxiously from your car as she passed by. I think that is kind of sad that you can even miss those kinds of things - the wave of a friend because you are too busy - not to even mention noticing people around you you do not know.

Scribbit said...

I think watching people is about the most interesting thing to do--though I tend to get worried about people like that man when I see them. I think it's the mother in me.

Jo said...

Unfortunately I have the opposite problem -- I spend way too much time observing and not enough time doing LOL. I need to strike a balance.

This Eclectic Life said...

Robin, that's a thought provoking post! Our lives are lived in such a hurried fashion that we rarely take the time to look past the surface. You've made me resolve that (if just for today) I'm going to "open my eyes" and really see. Good post, lady!

Christine said...

It does make you think. As I am so busy in my daily life, I feel like I miss so much, because I don't stop to slow down and watch as life goes by, and it does go by very fast.
Great post Robin.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I've had to think about this type of thing lately, but in a different way. I've had a couple of people come up to me and give me big hellos---I obviously know them, but have no idea who they are at first. It usually takes me a long time to figure it out. This makes me wonder if I'm really paying attention to the people I'm interacting with in my life, or if I'm just racing through things.