A toast to my powers of observation

I’ve noticed that since I’ve been writing regularly, I’ve begun to notice more.  This, however has not translated to becoming more observant.  Fortunately, being oblivious is a hard trait to overcome.

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Nancy and I are at the hotel restaurant.  We’re sitting at a table with the most incredible view of the Santa Catalina Mountains. By simply glancing to my left, I gaze out at the jagged ridge that rises out of the desert.  I notice the way the shadows alternate with the sun-splashed areas.  The contrast with the deep blue of the Arizona sky is striking.  I notice the sliver of a crescent moon above the hills, a waxing crescent, I believe. 

But we’re here to eat.  Focus.  I’m scanning the menu, looking for the perfect pre-hike breakfast.  I decide against the pancakes or the cornbread pain perdue.  Too heavy on the carbs. Might slow me down. I could use more protein.  I decide to go with the eggs and bacon combo.  I inform Nancy, so that she will not order the same thing.  That’s a thing for me.

“I’m going with the two eggs.  I’ll have them over easy.  What are you having?” I ask.

“I’m thinking of having the short stack of pancakes.”

“Good,” I reply.  “I’m going with the bacon.  It comes with those homefries, too,  right?  Now I just have to decide what kind of toast.”

“Wow, you’re really on top of this breakfast ordering.  That coffee kicked in fast, huh?”  Nancy is pretending to be impressed.  She’s actually resisting telling me how nerdy I’m seeming.

“Yeah, what kind of toast do they have?”  I wanted to know so that I could say the whole order without the waiter asking me any questions.  It’s a sign of someone who’s really observant.  This was our third breakfast at the hotel, after all.

“They have whole wheat, sourdough, English muffin, or gluten-free,” Nancy replies.

“Wow, how did you remember all that?” I asked, impressed.  She’s not writing every day, but she’s clearly very observant.

“It says it on the menu.”

“Where? I didn’t see that.”

“Right in the middle…under the heading, ‘Toast.’”

I glance to the menu again. “Oh. Right.”

 

Apparently I have room for improvement with my powers of observation.

20 thoughts on “A toast to my powers of observation

    1. That’s what I took from this piece as well. The playful relationship and roles you each take on. I’m still curious about the thing about not eating the same breakfast. Is it so you can share?!?

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  1. No, your artist/writer’s eye observed what is most important for maintaining the humanity of mankind. Staying connect to the earth and nature. That’s the only place to stay grounded and part of what really matters. Part of all living things (even the ever changing earth’s crust). You have always been that way.

    I just finished book one of, The Keepers of the Lost Cities (great fifth/sixth grade series) on audio, and one overarching message is the destruction and disrespect humans have for the earth and it’s amazing gifts of beauty and life. Also, being a vegetarian like the folks in Sophie’s world, they could never comprehend how someone could eat another living thing. So, I liked that part. The cruel treatment and disrespect for these animals lives breaks my heart everyday. Sorry, a bit off track. If you read about the production of eggs and bacon; chickens and pigs lives, toast would have been something you observed quite closely.

    Okay… sorry for all that. Going to go do my morning yoga. But, you observed part of what is really important for our souls.

    Deb

    >

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  2. I feel similarly about ordering in restaurants. I want to have my whole order ready to go when the waiter arrives. The only question I ever ask is what kind of soup is on the menu for the day. My husband asks all kinds of questions and he’s never, EVER, ready to order. 🙂

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  3. Great use of that dynamic duo: dialogue and inner thinking. There is big picture observation and little picture observation. Your conversation with your wife shows that both are important.

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  4. You definitely are observant. Your description of the Santa Catalina Mountains captured a lot of detail. Now for the menu… you aren’t the only one who overlooks things! (smile) I like to order different dishes too when I am dining out, that way I can taste a preview of a potential next meal from the menu for my next visit. What’s your reason for different meals?

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  5. A vivid picture in words to go with the stunning photos! I felt I was right there in the scene. And I commiserate with sometimes not being so observant (or maybe too focused, mind elsewhere) – it hurts my writerly heart.

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  6. I share your frustration with not being more observant. But I also share the sentiments here regarding your abilities to add enticing and purposeful detail to your writing. While reading, I felt transported to that beautiful spot. Thanks for this great slice!

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  7. I love the way you bring us into this moment. I feel like I am right there looking at the mountains, and then checking out the menu (I would have had the cornbread dish without a doubt) and then thinking right alongside you. Am I as observant as I should be? How can I look more closely? I find it honest, descriptive, humorous, and reflective, all at the same time.

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