Being an Observer

One evening last week, I found myself sitting alone in my car having dropped off my adult daughter at the local garage to pick up her car, which had been in for repairs.

As I waited for her to let me know that I was released from my duties, I observed across the road from me, a man get out of his car and walk into a Chinese takeaway.

He was greeted by a man behind the counter and he ordered his supper (I assume).

He then picked up a newspaper and stood at the counter whilst waiting for his order to be prepared for him to take home (I assume).

After a few minutes, the man behind the counter brought our his order in a bag with little handles on it, and handed it to him – I presume there was some exchange of cash – and then the man left the takeaway, closing the door behind him and got back into his car and drove off.

Shall I end my blog there? – was the above of any interest to you whatsoever?

I have felt curiously drawn to the events that evening, because I am desperate to understand whether as an observer of the event:-

  • was I part of it?
  • was it relevant to me?
  • did I benefit from it or contribute to it in any way
  • was it an irrelevance?

At a fiscal level, I suppose I contribute to the taxes which pay for the maintenance of the roads on which the customer drove to reach the take away.

On a social level, if I had been in the queue behind the customer I would have been directly affected by having to wait my turn to be served or vice versa.

On a community level, I benefit from the economic well being and prosperity of the diverse community in which I live.

On a gastronomical level, I like Chinese food too!

But, I repeat, does all of the above have anything to say to me by being an observer to those events?.

I have arrived at the conclusion that I am involved as an observer, because on this occasion, I took notice, I involved myself in the observation of an everyday transaction between people in my community and I experienced a connection.

I have come to realise and appreciate, that, whilst I value my growing sense of self, it is nurtured in quiet reflection and deepening my self-knowledge, it is also nurtured in community whether active or passive.

So, in conclusion, my passive involvement as an observer of a transaction in which I was not involved, connected me to the society in which I live.

“You can go now Dad, my car is fixed” – “Thanks for the lift”

My next blog will be: Unsprung Spring

William Defoe





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