Author | Entrepreneur | Martial Artist

Pens and Paying Attention

Now, you may be wondering what a pen and paying attention would have in common.  But fortunately for you, I am here to tell you!

I had lunch today, with 24 coworkers.  Yes, 24.  At the end of lunch, the waitress had three pens.  Now, everyone needed a pen because we all paid with credit cards.  I watched carefully, and each person who had a pen then discarded the pen on the table when they were done.  Not one person looked around to see who needed the pen next.  Not one person bothered to ask if anyone needed it, nor did they push the pen where others could reach for it.

On the second round of pen nab, not one person did a hand off of the pen.  And this continued until we all miraculously filled out the paperwork.

Why hadn’t anyone bothered to pass a pen to another?  Was it that they were not paying attention?  How could this be?  Each person, aside from the first three, experienced the anxiety of not having a pen handed off to them.  So, absolutely no one extended more courtesy than what was shown to them.  Each person mindlessly discarded the pen, and went about their business.

I think I was the only person that felt disgust and shock by this behavior.  Common courtesy, in the tiniest of forms completely abandoned for personal mindless behavior.  Now, we weren’t even in a building that was on fire, or in a trench during a firefight.  To me, this means that all of these people would stand around and watch as another human being got beaten down.  Not one of these people would sacrifice an ounce of anything that would not immediately benefit themselves.  All of these people were truly selfish.  This makes me feel like I can’t trust these people for anything!

Now, maybe I’m being dramatic, and perhaps I’m just used to being around martial artist who always pay attention to these things.  Is this just a Seinfeld moment, or is it more indicative of a culture lacking substance?

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