• Nate Braymen

The (Mostly) Silent World

On second thought, it’s a musical…

I just have no idea what everyone else’s music sounds like. The thought occurred to me as I sit here waiting for a delayed flight to New Orleans to attend the annual ASSP National conference. My Safety Technician and I have been sitting around for the past few hours. She’s watching Netflix, and I tried napping but I woke myself up snoring because I got startled (I don’t snore, my wife lies).

So now I’m here with earbuds stuffed into my ears. They still don’t drown out the woman across from me who is expelling her lungs and various bits of bodily fluid from her mouth and nostrils. There’s a louder woman behind me cackling, but potentially contagious bodily fluids heighten my awareness. Also, someone near me is eating A LOT of garlic. But thanks to the musical stylings of Taylor Swift (don’t judge, everyone likes her) those sounds are tolerable.

No one looks up

I know what you’re thinking. I’m going to write some predictable safety diatribe about how technology is ruining our culture and making us unsafe. Wrong. It’s a huge part of our world that’s only going to get more invasive. We need to learn to use it.

I’m just talking about what I see in places like airports. Anywhere crowded really. Everyone is stuck in their three-foot world. We don’t look around and actually see what’s going on. And most people don’t hear it either. There are a million ways to take this conversation, but I’m just going to suggest you think about it for yourself.

The next time you’re out and about, pause, take a beat, raise your eyes above the level of your next two steps and take in the panoramic view. Then pull one earbud out (baby steps, right?) Not only will you see interesting stuff, you’ll have an awareness most don’t. Plus people say some incredibly funny stuff.

But the awareness is key. We could all stand to get better at it. That’s all for me for now. See you in New Orleans.

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