Have you ever “not cared” about something? I’m not talking about trivial things like why your last tank of gas produced .02 miles per gallon more than the previous tank. I’m talking about a time when you were so completely stripped of any amount of empathy that you might have mustered for something so completely petty and insignificant, that you utterly ignored it and fell asleep in front of it. I have.
I remember teaching a class once, and we went a bit “long” on the last day. My schedule was tight and I was thinking that I had less than two hours to get my butt out of there and into a cab to push my way out to LaGuardia and get through security. I passed out the class evaluations, packed my things, collected the completed forms and was officially “done.” I thanked everyone, told them I had to catch a plane and began hustling out of the classroom. Everyone understood my haste. Everyone except for one particular student… This student (who’d been particularly troublesome and rather inattentive all week long) followed me out of the classroom and was bent on telling me a story, “Ken, can I tell you about something that happened to our web environment one day?” Focused on the quickest path to the elevator, my only response was, “Sure.” I didn’t even make eye contact with him. He followed me, prattling on about “intranet this,” and, “extranet that.” Honestly, had he spontaneously combusted, I wouldn’t have noticed. Finally the elevator doors opened, I walked inside, and mercifully, his voice faded as the doors went “DING” and slid shut. For all I know, he’s still there talking to the elevator.
Admittedly, that wasn’t the most polite thing to do, but I didn’t care. It was a very long week, I wanted to get home to my wife and the dogs and I flat out didn’t care anymore. I think it’s OK to feel this way, once in awhile. Here’s some advice though, don’t ever “tune out” of a flight attendant’s safety lecture. You should always care and care deeply. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not extolling the virtues of the lecture. We’ve all heard it quite enough. Heck, I could deliver it better than most flight attendants I’ve flown with. Still, I made the mistake of not caring and I actually fell asleep, in first class, during the lecture. This particular flight attendant wasn’t amused.
She shook me by the shoulder, woke me up, and said, “Sir, you slept through my safety briefing!” I replied, “I needed a nap,” (it was all I could think about at the time). She threatened to do it again and I said, “Thanks, someone woke me up in the middle of my last nap, and I sure could use another one.” She wasn’t amused. She stormed away and I asked the guy next to me, “Was I rude?” He sat there with his headphones on, and completely ignored me… I guess what comes around, goes around!
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