Situational Awareness – Helpful Hint #9

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Jun 2010
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The stars at night are big and bright…
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I like to occasionally play what amounts to a one person game. Everyone you see, pick out something that sets them apart from the others. It may be little like some guy who carries his cell phone on his left hip, or it may be bigger like a lady whose t-shirt is inside out, or it may be huge like a guy wringing his hands talking to himself angrily. I do this while grocery shopping, walking down the street, or whatever. It has really trained me to be observant of others, and I’ve noticed that even when not actively playing the game I am more aware of others and subconsciously pick up on odd behavior or things that are out of place.

I’m sure it saved my wife and me from being mugged when we were in Amsterdam. We were in a cafe at night (The kind that sells coffee. What you’re thinking of is a coffee shop. ) and I accidentally flashed a hundred Euro bill when paying. I glanced around and it didn’t look like anybody noticed so I thought everything was OK.

However, as we were walking out these two guys at a table by the door put out their freshly lit cigarettes -wasting almost the whole thing- and got up to walk out behind us. I wasn’t actively watching them, but it caught my attention as odd. Who puts out a cigarette they just lit? We walked out and one guy stayed behind us while the other crossed the street and walked along side.

We stepped inside the first shop we came to and I looked out the window. The guys had converged and were looking right at me talking -probably about whether they had been made. We waited until they left, then headed the opposite direction from where they went.

I’m certain that I picked up on those cigarettes because I often play, “spot the differences” or whatever you want to call it.

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