Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Life - Attention Must Be Paid

Life - Attention Must Be Paid

Wes and I were walking before dinner tonight. We beheld a strange situation. On a busy sidewalk with many people, a young man, shirtless and sardonic did something to a woman pushing a stroller. She was distracted, phone braced against her shoulder and clearly distracted, he darted down and did something with either the child in the stroller or in the basket beneath the seat and then straightened immediately. He ran, a smirk on his face towards us and almost past.

It couldn't have been more than a few seconds.

Something compelled me, or maybe it was just a reflex. Or maybe it was something internal, indescribeable.

My leg lanced out, catching him right in the leg. He stumbles, almost falls, trips sideways and goes down. He's up very quickly, he glares.

I turn. I look him square, and set my shoulders. I'm ready to brawl.

I think he realizes then that we saw. That we paid attention. That we knew, even though we were not sure what exactly had happened. I marked him, saw his face, and most importantly, attention was paid. There is a tense moment, I can almost feel Wes over my shoulder not sure what to do, but I don't look away.

I am ready, for whatever this young man decides he is going to do.

He backs up, he runs. His smirk is gone.

We catch up with the woman with the stroller, ask her if everything is alright. She seems a little shaken but otherwise fine. She didn't know the man either. Another elderly man comes along and asks us what happened. We try to piece it all together. We think he must have either tried to steal her purse down under the stroller, or maybe he thought it would be funny to put a cigarette down there or something, but we find nothing, and she still has her purse.

Ultimately we separate on the street, unable to resolve it, and the young man long gone, run off down and away.

I think about that moment while Wes and I continue to walk. It's important then I realize. Attention must be paid. It's not the nature of the quote that Arthur Miller coined, but when we see injustice, or question the veracity of the human condition, I think it's important to stand up with back's straight and say:

I noticed. I saw. You have, my attention.