Are You Listening???

mom and daughterEarlier today, I pulled up to a red light and blissfully stared ahead at all the people walking on the street and the interesting cow-dude who was standing on the opposite corner doing a happy dance in front of a steak house. (Does anyone else see the irony there???)

Something drew my attention to my right so I glanced slowly that way to see what I would find. In the SUV beside me was a woman who was smoking a cigarette with such ferocity I was afraid she was going to inhale the entire thing into her throat. She was chugging away on it, taking long drags, blowing the smoke out the window and occasionally tapping her ashes outside the car. In between her frantic inhalations, she was seemingly ranting and raving at the teenage girl in the seat beside her.

I’m guessing this was a mom and daughter duo and, as far as I could tell, they were the only two in the vehicle and the girl was none too pleased. The woman’s facial expressions indicated that she was incredibly worked up about whatever topic she was yelling about. The teenage girl’s facial expressions indicated she couldn’t hear a thing that was being yelled at her. Because the woman was so focused on her cigarette and her diatribe, the young girl was able to be completely oblivious to the entire conversation because her mother never engaged her in the conversation. She just kept yelling. And, as we sat there, the woman growing evermore anxious because the light was not changing, the young girl started actually pulling faces. I’m not sure if she was aware she was doing it, but I sure saw it, even though her mother did not. Soon the light changed and the woman lurched into the intersection, nearly sideswiping a car that decided to run its red light. She flipped the person off and charged ahead, her smoke and ashes leaving an acidic trail in her wake.

I have thought a lot about this scene I witnessed and found myself wondering if there are times when I am so singularly (or dually) focused on something that I completely forget anyone is there experiencing the moment with me. In this fast-paced world, it is hard to remember that I’m not having a life experience by myself; there ARE actually other humans around me. I am thankful for the blatant reminder so I can check myself and see… where am I not paying attention to others around me?

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