Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I am Mr. Oblivious.

I am Mr. Oblivious.
My family and friends all call me this and I no longer deny it. Being observant is not my forte. I have no idea what the heck is going on around me sometimes.

This can present problems. I am the kind of guy who burns up because he doesn't notice the fire alarm going off. While I've never crashed through a "Road Closed" barrier, I once drove the wrong way down a one-way street. And the police once evacuated the floor of our building so they could handle a mentally unstable, out-of-control employee. I was working in my cube in the room next door to hers. I found out about it later. Yes, flashing red lights and "Are you sure?" pop-up boxes were invented for people like me.

Worse yet, all those subtle clues that people give when they want you to know something, without actually having to tell you, are generally lost on me. Apparently, thoughts work by osmosis on most other humans, but not me. If you want me to know something, you have to spell it out.

I'm not stupid. I'm not trying to be rude and I'm definitely not mad at you. I'm just oblivious. I didn't realise that when you said
"sit down and we'll talk about this",
you were really saying
"Sit down, shut up and do as I say."

Or when you asked
"not having a good round?",
you really meant
"Your golf game sucks and you're playing too slow. Let me play through."

Or that when you asked
"Is that bread good?"
you really meant
"Stop eating all the bread and save some for someone else, you fat manatee!"

Or, when you stared at me in angry silence, you really meant
"You're late. Your dog peed on the floor - again. The check did NOT come in the mail today. The kids have BOTH been bratty little snots. I'm going out with the girls tonight. You are on your own for dinner. Tell me to go and have a good time or you sleeping on the couch for a week."

However, being oblivious sometimes has its advantages. I generally don't guess wrong about what people are trying to tell we mostly because I don't know when they are trying to send me a message in the first place. Hints don't work, so they always tell me what they need me to know.
And sometimes ignorance is bliss. I'm not bothered when the clerk at the grocery sore treats me a bit rudely, because I didn't notice. A few weeds in the yard won't set me off because all I saw was green. Not many things will tempt me, because I just don't see them. Steal? Steal what? Covet? Well, now that you mention it, I guess that new car is pretty nice. Marital infidelity? Not going to happen. I wouldn't know if a woman was trying to hit on me if she were dancing naked in front of me, shaking a bottle of Viagra and singing "Why don't we do it in the road?"

Sometimes, it just takes a while for things to register. Even when I recognize all the dots, I don't always connect them right away. I often feel like I'm the sheepdog in that classic Bugs Bunny cartoon. ("Hey, that was the fox.") I could be driving through my rural county at night, pass some well lit area on the side of the road and not have it dawn on my for several minutes that I had just passed an alien abduction in progress.

Other times it takes a really long time for me to realize things, or maybe to just to come to grips with things that maybe I've known all along, but didn't want to admit - like the fact that I can be an impulsive, lazy, slob. Or that I start a lot more things than I ever finish. Or that I have a lot of great friends that treat me better than I deserve. Or when I tell my daughter that it's most important that she "try her best", that most of the time I don't try my best. Hindsight may be 20/20, but sometimes my "right-now sight" can't see past the end of its nose.

So the next time you see me and I don't say anything to you, don't assume I'm being rude. It may just be that my eyes have seen you but my brain is too busy working on my next blog entry to listen to them. And if you need me to do you a favor, your best chance of success isn't going to be dropping a hint. Try starting with "can you do me a favor?" And if for some strange reason, you feel the need to hit on me and you're not my wife, you're just wasting everyone's time.

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