Archive for October, 2009

Do you hear me????

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I don’t talk much. Some people think I am aloof. Most people think I am in a bad mood. Alot of people think I don’t like them. Truth is, I don’t say much unless I feel it nescessary and quite frankly, no one usually cares enough to listen anyway!!!!

I have learned in my life that it is better to be a good listerner than it is to be a good talker. I have learned more listening than I ever will from talking. The problem is most people today don’t find anyone interesting enough to listen to before they talk.

We have become a society of people who care more about what they have to say than what the the other person does. I find it not only rude but frustrating.

The very worse case I have witnessed recently came at a training seminar I attended for Mediation. A woman therapist spoke for approximately 30 minutes and then gave the floor to the next speaker. During the time that the gentleman was speaking, no less than five times did she interrupt him to give her opinion. At one point she stole the floor from him. This woman had her own agenda and she was going to push it all day no matter whose turn it was to speak.

I come from a family of what Seinfeld would probably call “over-talkers”. You know them as the friend who never lets you finish a sentence. Or the employee who always finishes your sentence for you and doesn’t come close to what you were trying to say.

When did this happen. As a kid I would be scolded for such rude behavior and now it is commonly accepted. It is a standing joke between two friends of mine and myself, how they never let me finish a sentence. Worse yet is when they ask me a question and don’t bother to listen to the answer but turn away in the middle of it. My wife and I now continue talking to people who look away but we change the subject to something tragic like ” and then I cut my finger to the bone and had to have it stitched and blah blah”. At some point the person usually turns their attention back to us  without a clue as to what we are talking about. Pretty funny stuff.

So what is it with people that can’t shut their pie hole long enough for someone to answer their question? What makes people talk over someone in conversation? I think the reason is two fold. First, most people tell me that they think they will forget what they are going to say next so they blurt it out. Second, they lost their ability to listen. Everyone is in such a rush today that taking time to listen to someone slows their day down. They already know what you are going to say so why not move on. Or better yet, they have a similar story that they can’t wait to tell you. Another Seinfeld moment. “the one upper”. Oh yeah everyone knows one of these people. Always found the blouse cheaper, or their kid gets better grades, or they have a different model television that is better than yours.Anything you say they have a story just like it but better.At least they think its better.

So everyone just chill! Believe it or not, if you take the time to listen to what someone else has  to say you might find what you think you wanted to say might change.And maybe you just may learn something about that person you didn’t know.

I love to listen. I love to listen because no one else is and I hear everything. Being a Mediator, I do however have an unfair advantage,. Yes, being a Mediator I am trained to listen to what people have to say. That is how I have become so quiet and such a good listener. I am grateful for that training because people say very interesting things if you let them. And, if you really listen to people they will notice and pay more attention to what you have to say when it’s your turn to speak.

The best thing about not talking so much is that people notice. As I said in my opening paragraph, they form all sorts of ideas about me because I don’t talk as much as they think I should. Maybe they get some bad ideas about me but when I do talk, most of them listen very carefully. Probably because they are in shock when I do. Plus not talking so much keeps them guessing about what I am really like. It sort of gives me the upper hand in a weird way.  This way I figure that when I do say something maybe, just maybe,they will listen……Can you hear me now????

Life really is short….

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Today was supposed to be a day of friends and riding motorcycles. Planned for just a week or so and anxious to get one of the last good days for riding in, we all met on time and were ready to roll. Today, as it turned out, was the saddest day of my life.

People are always saying how short life is. How your here one day and gone the next. How many times have we heard this and how many times do you really pay attention or understand  what that means. Today I found out exactly what it means….

The day started out great. The weather was just what we expected, cool and clear and lots of sunshine. The eight of us met early and started out for Frenchtown NJ, which is a scenic ride along the Delaware River. Everything was going fine, and then it happened.

From my mirror I could see the motorcycle handlebars shaking back and forth and the bike veering out of control. The next thing I remember is a cloud of dust and the bike crashing into the guardrail. It was all, as they say, surreal. I remember screaming “Oh my God, he’s going to crash” or maybe I was thinking it. I can’t remember the details because it seemed like ten minutes in the making but only seconds in reality. A chill came over me instantly and instinct took over. I remember looking again in my mirror to see that the person behind me was aware that I was stopping my bike. Everything happens so fast and yet it seems as though you are watching it through someone else’s eyes.

I was the second person to reach him. My Uncle was the first. We stood there in disbelief that this was happening but remained as calm as possible and checked to see if he had a pulse. His body laid there limp and lifeless, one leg over the guardrail and one twisted under his body. He wasn’t bleeding except for the small amount that exited his mouth with his last breath.

I will never be able to explain how this feels. I have played it over and over in my head for what seems to be a hundred times. My eyes began to tear up as I stood there and waited for the Police and EMT’s. My Uncle came to me and hugged me. I am crying now as I write this.

This man, who I and most of the six other guys, just met today, had died before our eyes. Five minutes earlier we shared words at a gas station and now he was gone. As I stood there over him, I couldn’t help but think how it could have been any one of us that this happened to. I also felt some relief that it wasn’t because I don’t know how I could have kept it together if it had been. I thought about how his family would feel when they learned that he wouldn’t be coming home. How life was taken from him in an instant and he never got the chance to say  good bye to the people he cared about. How he died in front of seven guys he hardly knew but whose lives would be forever changed because of it.

We were all so shaken up, some including me, more than others but as the day progressed it was very evident that we had all been changed by this. The sight replays over and over in my mind and the thoughts of how ” he was here five minutes earlier” makes it harder to comprehend. It is now clear to me what that phrase means. The impact from witnessing it makes me understand just how fast life can be taken away from a person. Even though I was there I feel as if I had just watched a movie and that it couldn’t have happened. We don’t know what happened to him but we all believe that he had a heart attack or stroke and died before his bike crashed. The way in which his bike traveled and with no skid marks, we could only surmise that he was unconscious when he lost control. Looking back on it all, it was probably the best thing that he was because he didn’t feel a thing.

I didn’t know him at all and maybe in some way it is better that I didn’t, but I do feel a need  to say goodbye to him. I will make the effort to be at his funeral so I can do just that. I am not a religious person although I do believe in God and Jesus Christ so tonight I will pray for him and his family.

After witnessing this, I understand how precious life is and just how fast it can be taken away. I hope that I can take something positive from this experience and make the best of the life I have. I hope that this image stays with me for life so that I am reminded everyday how lucky I am to have made it this far. And lastly I hope that he didn’t die for nothing but that everyone who was there today realizes just how short life really is…….

My Playlist

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

2009

October

6- Good Morning Starshine- Oliver

7- Barely Breathing- Duncan Shiek

8- Emotional Rescue – Rolling Stones

9- Move it on Over- George Thorogood

10- Some Girls – Rod Stewart

11- When I ruled the World- Coldplay

14- Heard it in a Love song- Marshall Tucker Band

15- Yah mo B there- Michael MacDonald