Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Love and Attention

My poor cat. He spends most of his days alone because I've got stuff after work 3-4 nights out of the week and I can't take the time to go home after work (hooray for eating lunch AND dinner at the office).

This is Mau-be, my precious.

So when I come home and sit down at the computer he gets really annoyed. I guess I would too, if I'd been waiting all day for my favorite person to come home, and when they finally did they gave me a hug, rubbed my belly, then promptly gave the computer all their attention.

This generally means that he will meow pitiously insistantly at me until I pay him some attention. And for some reason today while I was cuddling with him I thought about the word "attention." Now, I'm not a master mistress of linguistics, but I do know that attention derives from the word attend, which in French (and probably Latin) means to wait. So if I'm supposed to be paying attention to my cat or my best friend or my boss, I'm supposed to be waiting on them, listening for what they have to say, watching them to see what they're going to do.

Paying attention isn't just looking in someone's general direction or waving a hand towards them and murmering "yeah I'm watching, honey. You're doing great." No, paying attention is actually looking, listening, watching and waiting. Being focused solely on the other person because you cannot react until they first act, and you don't know what they're going to do.

Think of the phrase we use too... paying attention. I am not giving you my attention, I'm not deigning to honor you with my presence but in actuality I am paying you for yours by tuning my eyes and ears towards you and waiting for what you have to give to me. I'm not doing you any favors because anything you have to do or say will enrich me in some way.

So pay attention to your kids today, watch them do those cartwheels. Pet the kitty, and play fetch with the dog. The computer/book/term paper will be there in 5 minutes. And not because it's paying attention to you. It doesn't care who uses it or even if it's being used. You can pay attention to someone by using the computer (Skype, anyone?) but you'll never get a thank you, a hug, or a piece of advice from that amalgam of parts sitting there in front of you.

If you're going to pay your attention to something or someone today, make sure it's someone who will make it worth your while. And for me, a warm fuzzy purring kitty is well worth my while.

Look... Listen...Love.

No comments:

Post a Comment

An Extraordinary Comment just for me? Hooray!

When you comment, I get an email. Then I hit "reply." If your email says "noreply-comment" I get sad. Check out this tutorial and set yourself up so I can write back to you!