You There! In the Shadows…

I’m a “looky loo”.  I’ve actually spent most of my life saying that I am a “people watcher”, but the latter is just a more polite phrase for the former.  I openly admit this as one of my shortcomings.  If something is going on nearby, regardless of my stake in the event, I want to get a look at it.  Sometimes, even after I’ve seen what’s happening and have gone home, I have to return to the scene, to be sure that there hasn’t been another development adding to the interest.  I have nothing to contribute to the situation, no help to offer, but I don’t want to be the one guy in the world who didn’t witness what occurred.

It happened the other night.  I was working in the music store with the Lovely Lady and our watch-mutt in the backyard started barking.  This is not unusual, but under normal circumstances, he’ll stop pretty quickly as the neighbor dog being walked goes around the next corner, or the two middle-aged speed-walking fitness nuts zip past, never missing a beat in their conversation (how do they do that?).  This night, the barking kept up and actually increased in volume, so I stepped out the back door of the business to investigate.  Up the street a hundred feet or less, a police cruiser was stopped next to the sidewalk and three men were standing nearby, one of them in conversation with the officer in the vehicle.  As I watched, the two not talking with the officer walked away in opposite directions.  A moment later, the officer switched on the lights on top of the car and got out, moving around to stand next to the remaining man.  They continued speaking for a few moments, so I decided that there was nothing more to be seen and went back in to work.  This was a rookie mistake on my part.  No veteran “looky loo” would have left so quickly.  In just moments, the volume of the mutt’s yelping increased nearly to the frantic stage, so I exited the store once more.

“Let me see your hands!” was the shout that I heard as I opened the door.  Yep, they really said it.  I thought that was just in the movies, but the officer had his pistol drawn and aimed at someone behind the car wash next door to me, repeating the command several times more before the man evidently complied.  What had started as a single officer in conversation with the man quickly became pandemonium, with no less than 7 cruisers arriving in just seconds.  I saw two officers with drawn weapons, and a third came up from the side of the building I was on with his hand resting on his still-holstered pistol, ready to draw it at a second’s notice.  They rapidly got the man in cuffs and half-carried, half-led him toward the waiting car.  Moment’s later, an ambulance arrived with its siren screaming, to the dismay of the mutt, who went into a full-throated howl at the sound.  From my vantage point, I couldn’t see what the injury was, but stayed where I was for a few moments as the officers wandered through the neighborhood with their flashlights, checking for any of the other individuals who had wandered away just moments before the altercation with their comrade.  When I was sure I wasn’t going to miss any other momentous events, I returned to my work. 

The whole time this went on, the Lovely Lady stayed at her desk, accomplishing exactly what she came to work for, working steadily toward her goal.  She is not a “looky loo”.  What is it about our personalities that makes some of us intensely interested in the goings on in the world, while others are only concerned when the event directly affects them or someone they are connected with?   I don’t ask the question to indicate that either choice is better or worse, simply to call attention to the difference.  There is no arguing that she accomplishes more work, even as events are transpiring, while I spend most of my time playing catch-up because of my lack of focus.

Chances are good, if you’re a casual reader of this blog, you may also be a “looky loo”.  I’ve observed before that the media (especially the so-called “social media”) we have at our disposal brings out the voyeur in us, allowing us to follow many individuals’ activities without the bother of interacting with them.  We can view photos and videos, follow the progress of a “friend” recovering from an illness or injury, and even observe their special days (birthdays and anniversaries) without them ever knowing that we have any interest whatsoever.  The other new label for this activity is “lurking”, and countless numbers of us participate in this.  I will say that I have made a conscious effort to comment on such items of interest, simply because I know myself and how easy it would be to simply watch from the shadows of the Internet.

I have a two-fold purpose in writing today’s post; the first being to remind all of us, myself especially, that it’s not healthy to simply watch events unfold from the sidelines.  I’m certainly not suggesting that we walk into the middle of the arrest scene I described above, but I am suggesting that when we have the opportunity to be involved in our friend’s and neighbor’s lives, we do so actively.  The changing definition of friendship is more than a little disturbing to me and I believe that the further we go into isolation, the more impoverished and consequently, unbalanced as a society we will be. 

My second reason for mentioning the issue of “looky loos” is to encourage the readers of this blog to interact with me and the other readers.  I know that many of you are not comfortable with making public comments, but rest assured; there are ways you can do so anonymously.  Sometimes, I find myself getting discouraged in writing because several posts go by without feedback, but I know you’re out there (the stats don’t lie!).  If you don’t want to actually write a comment, you may opt to click the one-word comments at the bottom of this post.  I’m not looking for pats on the back, but simply your honest input.  You may disagree with something I’ve said in a blog and I’d love to hear your take on what I have written.  If mine is the only voice I hear, you’ll keep getting the same old stuff over and over again.  I’m pretty sure that will get fairly monotonous, if it hasn’t already done so.

Okay!  Enough of the boring stuff!  It seems like exciting things keep happening around me.  I’ll let you know when my next interaction with the men in blue happens.  Come to think of it; I’d rather not.  Maybe we could keep it a little lower key for awhile.  My heart needs time to recuperate from the last one…

“Every man is surrounded by a neighborhood of voluntary spies.”
(Jane Austen~English novelist~1775-1817)

“A friend is very different than an acquaintance.  The former is tried and true; the latter only a casual shadow in one’s life.”

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