Look Around


I pick this lady up at the airport to drive to her hotel.

She settles into the backseat, and starts working; answering emails, looking at data, catching up on phone calls, whatever. Point is, she’s not paying one iota of attention to where I’m going.

Which is fine. Many business clients don’t; they just trust me to get them to their destinations safely and on time, and I do.

As I exit off the freeway, however, she happens to look up from what she’s been doing back there, looks around and sees where we actually are.

At which point, she says, and I quote:

“Where the fuck are we?”

If you ever plan to become a chauffeur, here’s a tip from a professional, free of charge: You never want to hear your passenger say that.

Somewhat startled by the question, I nervously reply, “Um, I’m getting off at the exit to your hotel, ma’am. Is that not where you need to go?”

Turns out, naturally, it isn’t. Her admin (formerly known as secretary; what ever happened to that word?) had given our company incorrect information regarding her destination. Instead of going east of the airport to this hotel, I was supposed to go west to a different hotel where her car was, so she could drive it to this hotel for an important meeting. Which, of course, she was now going to miss.

Poor admin.


Now for the analogy you all knew was coming.

When was the last time you stopped what you were doing in the frenzied activity of a typical day to look around and see where the f you are?

We all get busy; that’s the truth. Take care of your responsibilities on the job, go to all those totally time-wasting meetings, correspond by phone or email with a million people a day. Put in some overtime, not because you love your job so much, but just so you don’t get so far behind! Commiserate with co-workers over how this job absolutely sucks. Then go back the next day and repeat the entire process.

Maybe you’re involved with your community, or your church, or some charity that demands some of your time and effort. Or you participate in some sports league. Maybe you’re on a bowling team. (Is anybody on one of those anymore?)

If you’re a parent, which I’m not, it really gets nuts. Your day, no doubt, is crammed with Things To Do: Make sure the kids are fed, dressed, at school on time with all homework completed, clean and in bed on time on school nights. Get them to soccer/football/band/martial arts/diesel mechanic practice and back home again.

And I know I’m leaving a lot of stuff out.

Wow. I got worn out just listing all that.

Parents, I salute you. I honestly don’t know how you do it. Especially if you’re single; you deserve a medal.

Friends, can you see how easy it is to just get sucked down into that merciless vortex of busy, and never come to the surface for air? Despite all best intentions, it can still happen to anyone. And it’s up to you to conciously make the time to just hit that pause button, and simply be in the moment. Life goes by at an alarming rate of speed, increasing exponentially the older you get. Things come into your life, then quickly disappear.

Appreciate what surrounds you right now. Pay some attention to the people, places, things in your life right now. They could all vanish before you even realize what happened.

I know this all sounds like so much Zen/Hallmark philosophy, but it’s actually true.

Look up from what you’re doing once in a while, and see where you are.

Not doing it soon enough cost that lady her attendance at a meeting. What will it cost you?



One thought on “Look Around

  1. This “heads down” phenomena is so annoying, the art of conversion is lost and no one seems to have mourned its passing, too busy texting I suppose.We’re living a world where it has never been so easy to talk to someone, yet we’re still alone.
    Cab ride. Coffee shop. Bus station. Park bench. Standing in a queue. Eating out. Movie theatre. Heads down glued to their electronic devices. What happened to talking to the people around you?


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