What If…We Paid Attention

It’s all too easy to become 🧐absorbed in something and 🙄ignore what is happening around us. Guilty! I’ve been on my 📱phone in line and not even realized the enormous gap that appeared while I was looking away. I’ve been so into the 🎤music or the podcast on my 🚗car stereo that I missed my turn. Cinnamon rolls have 🔥burned because I was reading and lost track of time. I’ve even walked out of a 🚽bathroom with tissue stuck to the bottom of my 👟shoes. Things happen when we’re not paying attention.

Little things like that can be 😬annoying, but they’re not really threatening. What happened on Friday night could have been ☠️dangerous.

I met my 16-year old daughter at 🎯Target. She drove her 🚗car after having dinner with friends while I came from across town. We completed our shopping, loaded up my vehicle with the 🛍bags, and hopped in our separate cars to head home. As we moved down the main thoroughfare in town, a pick-up 🚘truck pulled between us at a 🚦stoplight. Neither of us paid any attention at first because it is such a busy street. Traffic goes in and out of the lanes. No big deal. As we continued, that truck stayed directly behind her- through several more intersections. We had a train going- her car, the truck, my car. It even turned with us as we headed closer to our 🏘neighborhood onto a road that wasn’t a major street. It was just the three of us on a road with few 💡street lights and no other traffic. That was the moment that my 🤔suspicions grew deeper. This didn’t appear to be someone randomly going our direction anymore. Furthermore, this person didn’t seem to realize that I was also following her. Not yet, anyway. He was clearly focused on sticking close to her 🚗vehicle, though.

Luckily, our kid has good instincts. She had 🤔figured out that this was too much of a coincidence. At the same moment, each of us reached for our 📱phones to ❌warn against going to our 🏡house while this truck was following her. Around that same time, the truck driver seemed to realize that I had been following HIM as long as he had been following her! He made an abrupt turn at the next corner and stopped right there in the middle of the street. 😳Without pulling over to the side- just sitting there in the middle of the road. We went the other direction, losing him in the process. I kept my 👀eyes on the rearview mirror to see his next move, which was nothing. He stayed there in the middle of the road until we were out of sight. Whew! The one thing we didn’t do that we should have done- get the license plate of the truck. We could both describe it, but that detail could have been important.

It was 🌜dark. She was alone- or so he thought. What he didn’t count on was the fact that she was 🧐paying attention. She was observant of her surroundings, which gave her the upper hand. She assessed the situation and made the right decision. I was glad that I was there to 🧐see the whole scene shake down. I was even 😀happier to see that she knew what to do! Do we really know why that guy in the truck was following her? No- maybe he thought she was someone he knew. Does it really matter? No- because it could have been ☠️dangerous.

Screen Shot 2020-03-06 at 10.40.27 PMI read a 📚book many years ago called The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. He wrote about the sense of 👻fear we get before situations turn dangerous- that sixth sense. We often push away that fear when we should pay attention to our intuition. Gut feelings usually turn out to be correct. There’s a reason for the phrase:

Trust your gut!

My assigned 🚗parking spot in college required a walk through a tunnel from the lot to my dormitory. It never bothered me during the day. 🌜Nighttime was a different story. I had the 👻creeps every single time I had to walk through that tunnel alone at night. There were many times that male friends would walk with me. I learned how to hold my 🔑keys to use on any potential attacker and how to walk with confidence as I scanned the area. I knew to be 🎤loud so that others knew I was there. I was keenly aware of my surroundings before I even opened my car door and until I walked through the entrance of the dormitory. There were no 📱cell phones back in my day. It was all on me to take care of myself.

What if…we paid attention? Don’t set yourself up. 👀Watch for the things that are happening around you. 😳Be observant. 😤Be rude if the situation calls for it. Be loud. 📱Use your phone. 🤔Trust your gut!


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