Back when I was an undergrad, I worked at the commencement ceremony one year (Is it just me, or shouldn’t “commencement” come at the beginning – when one commences with studying? I guess no one would want to go to a “termination” ceremony. Or maybe they would, but it would be VERY different than our cap and gown affair.)
[I couldn’t resist an image of the death Carousel from Logan’s Run.]
At graduation, I was the one who checked in graduates and gave them the one page sheet of instructions as to what to do next. After everyone had been processed, I made my way to the staging area. During that short walk I had ten people holding the instruction sheet in their hand ask me what to do next. To the person, all of them were receiving graduate degrees.
That day I developed a theory that the more educated you are, the less likely you are to read directions.
Since then, and my own receipt of a higher degree, I realized that at least in my own case, it is more a lack of observation than blatant not reading. I ALWAYS read the safety information brochure and dutifully count the number of rows between me and an exit on an airplane. Yet I don’t always know when directions are being given to me.
Recently I used my still-sealed-in-the-box pressure cooker for the first time. After I took the plastic off my cooker, I realized the 72 page instruction booklet was sealed inside, and I couldn’t figure out how to open it.
Just before I was about to get really frustrated, I noticed these subtle markings on the top. I was relieved to not have to Google “how to open a pressure cooker”!
I think some of my lack of observation skills come from Ma. In high school, I desperately wanted my left ear double pierced. Not only did she say no, but also that I was forbidden from doing it … and that she would know if I did. Now this was back in the day when parental consent was still required for ear piercing, so both she and I thought that meant I had to wait until I was away at college and had turned 18.
One day, out of the blue, Tom asked if I still wanted my ear pierced. Without a second to think, I answered, “Yes!”
He took me down to the mall, signed the form, and the deed was done.
“Now hide it from your mom.”
Two weeks later Ma and I were waiting in the car for Mervyns to open (I still miss Mervyns!) when she looked over and kept staring at me. I was trying to act nonchalant when all of a sudden she declared, “You little $@$%! When did you get that done?”
She had to laugh because it was obvious by looking at it that it wasn’t fresh, and she hadn’t noticed.
I still have that mark of the 80s. I don’t normally wear an earring in it any more, but every now and then I see if I still can. Every time I do, I think of the story. Thanks, Tom!
What is your favorite not-observant story? or How many other people count rows to an exit on a plane?