Some people live life fully aware of the world around them. Where they are concerned, subtle hints are glaring neon signs screaming for their attention. People like Hubby notice almost everything happening around them, including prairie dogs in a monochromatic desert landscape.

On the other hand, more folks than we may realize live in detached bubbles, completely unaware of people and places around them. Folks inflicted with the oblivious bug, may drive the same route to work every day for ten or twenty years without taking note of buildings and other large objects along the way. Could the “bug” be an actual gene?

“Dad is always preoccupied,” was our siblings’ frequent lament. Absent-minded was the word we often used to describe our father. He gave the impression that he ignored anybody or anything that did not interest him or jumped out and smacked him upside the head. Growing up with a parent who could have been the prototype for an absent-minded professor was both difficult and bloody funny as well.

He often ate with his head down, lost in thought and focused on his plate. “Why didn’t I get any meat?” he complained after a meal, even though the meat platter was in front of him the entire time.

Father took obliviousness far beyond this world into a parallel universe. And yet, it could have been an act because his inattentiveness was, at times, suspect. Things you did not want him to hear or notice, he not only noticed, but his response to our presumed stealthy and errant behavior was positively volcanic.

Professors are not the only ones lost in a fog, either by choice or inclination. Sometimes the cluelessness of youth is mind-boggling as well. Do they have too much on their minds or could some oblivious moments be attributed to lack of life experiences?

An odd tale shared by a female acquaintance who had imbibed a tad too much grape juice of the fermented kind at a party is an example. A friend in college asked her to read a poem he wrote for his girlfriend. There were tears in her eyes when she finished the touching poem. “This is beautiful. I know your girlfriend will love it,” she exclaimed as she handed the poem back to him.

The next day, the poet’s best friend cornered her in the cafeteria. “Bill is heartbroken. Don’t you realize he wrote the poem for you?” the guy demanded. She paled. “But we’re friends. I didn’t know he felt that way about me.”

Even if you are not afflicted with the oblivious gene, you may be guilty of missing things. Could it be because some things and actions blur into the background like visual white noise?

For example, one co-worker mentioned a “new” building he noticed that morning he had not seen before. But when he looked up the name of the company clearly visible on the building, he discovered the building had occupied the same spot for over ten years.

“I feel stupid. What an oblivious clod I must be to miss an entire building,” he lamented. “On the plus side, I realized that my wife may be right when she claims I never notice anything at home — a new hairdo or how nice she looks. Perhaps this was a wake-up call to see and appreciate what’s in front of me before she decides I’m not worth the effort to stick around,” he added with a sheepish grin.

It seems some old or older dogs can and do learn new tricks.

You would think if one often experiences speaking-in-tongues worthy pain when a specific action or set of actions occur that an appropriate adjustment is required. However, noticing and learning from past mistakes does not always go hand in hand. Such inattentiveness or lack of adjustment could explain why this writer continues to slam doors and desk drawers shut on her fingers.

Clearly, the oblivious gene so ably cultivated by her father was passed down to his eldest child.


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