Saying thanks for the things we don’t notice.

Three days until Thanksgiving.

It reminds me, like it always does, to think about the things I’m grateful for and to say thanks for them.

SO EASY. I’m thankful for my family, my dog Rudy, mashed potatoes, my friends, my job, macaroni and cheese, cruise ships, the beach, the fact that I have clothes, grilled cheese sandwiches, school, the freedom to worship God, nachos with cheese, health, a place to live, pillows, blankets, role models and cheese by itself.

All good things. All obvious things. Makes me wonder if there are good things I haven’t noticed.

Have you ever encountered a person who is, in the worst ways, oblivious?

One of the worst oblivious encounters I’ve had happened one afternoon while I drove through the parking lot of a grocery store near my house. In one corner of the lot, there’s a three way stop. Like George Costanza says, “we’re living in a society!”, so when you’re at a three way stop, you and the other drivers take turns. That’s how it works and it works like a charm when respected.

It was not respected on that particular day.

I stopped at the sign and waited for my turn. And just as it was my turn, somebody totally blew one of the other stop signs. This guy, I thought, is about to overtake my turn! In effort to teach him a lesson (usually a bad idea), I took my turn anyway. Naturally, we both slammed on our brakes to avoid a collision. We rolled down our windows.

“HEY!” he shouted while running his stop sign. “YOU’RE RUNNING A STOP SIGN!”

Is. He. KIDDING ME? I am on Candid Camera right now, I thought.

Unfortunately not so. He really was that unaware. If he only knew! My hunch is, that given awareness of what he had missed, he’d be slightly ashamed of himself. He’d probably pay more attention in the future. He’d try harder to notice things that are easily overlooked. He’d admit that some things are only easy to overlook when one is too self absorbed.

Just sayin’. Certainly not sayin’ I’m never that person. Pretty sure we all are sometimes. On an episode of Conan O’Brien’s old show, comedian Louis CK pointed out a place where we are mostly guilty:

airplanes.

“People come back from flights and they tell you their story,” he said. “It’s a horror story. (People say) ‘it was the worst day of my life. We didn’t board for 20 minutes and then they made us sit there on the runway for forty minutes!’ … Oh really? What happened next? Did you fly through the air incredibly? … You’re flying! It’s amazing! … You’re sitting in a chair in the sky.”

But we’re so often quicker to notice instead that the seat “doesn’t go back a lot.”

Thanksgiving, I think, is a good time to look for the good things we don’t notice. It’s a great time to say thanks for them.

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