Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

Pay Attention.

Do I pay enough attention? Am I, in fact, noticing what I need to notice? I'm not necessarily as attuned to the world as I could be. As I should be. As I want to be.

It's a pattern. Get interested, but not enough to really learn something. Unless it's what I need to learn for my job, and then I'm going to figure it out (Knowledge = Pay!). Or what I need to learn to be amused, and I'm definitely all over that. But, otherwise, for the most part, don't learn. I'm worried about that pattern.

It's very easy to be amused (thanks, Internet) but my efforts beyond that lately don't seem very, er, effort-y. And it's easy to look back in my personal history and remember moments of going "Hey, that's neat, I can get back to that. Later." And then don't.

I'm hoping the kids I saw yesterday at the Oregon Zoo do better than that. The second Tuesday of each month is a low-admission day: $4 ($2.50 if you bring proof you took TriMet buses or trains there) per person. Not the $11.50 per person it usually is! So it's a big day. A crowded one. The Oregon Zoo seems like a decent-sized zoo (64 acres) and it's getting larger with a much-expanded elephant habitat opening in a few years. And I liked that while there is plenty of explanatory signage, as zoos usually have, there were signs I saw speaking of what we haven't figured out yet about animals. One sign explicitly urged young people to watch animals carefully, with the stated hope that they might notice what those of us who've watched before haven't noticed yet.

I was never going to pay enough attention to be a scientist. I know scientists. I'm glad I know scientists. But I get daunted and, probably, cowed by Not Knowing Enough To Contribute. Bad trait in a scientist. They need to push past the "I don't know enough yet" to still pay enough attention to figure things out. And kids haven't necessarily (I oh so hope this is so) developed that worry about not paying enough attention.

Admitting we don't know something is a tricky skill. I used to have trouble even just saying "I don't know," but now I say it when it's honestly true. Say it honestly and humbly. Care that I don't know enough, and be willing to learn, not arrogantly be all "I don't need to know that." And hope that young people don't have my hang-ups about Not Knowing Enough.

Again, I hope I paid better attention at the zoo. I hope the kids there did, too.

These were not enough words about knowing I need to know more.

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