Scarlett’s Letter August 4, 2013

I was awakened this morning by the sound of a closing door. It wasn’t the slamming of a door, but perhaps the slightly exaggerated closing of a door. Whether it was intended to wake me up, or not, I don’t know, I think it was, and it did. A request for attention, perhaps, a somewhat consistent theme in this household. And so my morning “ritual” began.

In my baggy sweats, I headed downstairs, first to the kitchen. Mom was in her chair, in her robe, eating her breakfast, one course at a time, reading a couple of newspapers. The newspapers are spread across about 75% of the table. Ads in one pile, the “news” in another. I say good morning and put some water on to heat up for coffee then go downstairs to the garage to collect the ingredients for my breakfast. My pantry and refrigerator are in the garage, and I really don’t mind. I figure segregating my organic, Whole Foods fare from the over-processed, pesticide laced, GMO, loss leaders upstairs is unnecessary, but gives me a certain peace of mind. Plus, that extra trip up and down those stairs a few times a day certainly must have some benefit.

Back up in the kitchen, I go about making my breakfast; berries, a shirred egg, a strip and a half of bacon, and oatmeal. I make my coffee in the coffee press once the water is boiling and sit down with my entire meal organized in front of me. One of my idiosyncrasies is to photograph all of the food I eat. I use it as a “journal” of sorts and I happen to think food is highly photogenic. So, I take the picture with my iPhone, trying ever so hard not to include any of the newspapers spread across the table.

Um, breakfast, isn't it beautiful?
Um, breakfast, isn’t it beautiful?

Before I head to the kitchen every morning, it is reasonably silent; just the sounds of the fixing of food and then, the shuffling and turning of newspaper pages. Once I enter the kitchen, though, thoughts are spoken out loud, every news article is commented on and the noteworthy sale items in the thirty-four pounds of advertising included with the paper are read aloud. Often, the more puzzling puzzles are discussed, for the purposes of collaboration. I busy myself with deleting ads from my email inbox, addressing any emails that may require my attention, sending my customary “good morning Love” text message and perusing Facebook, being certain to lustily acknowledge any birthdays. It has been brought to my attention, though, that I am not being conversational when my iPhone is present. I feel the same way about the newspaper, and, I don’t really consider reading the news, the ads, and, worst of all, my horoscope and the horoscope of everyone we know, the living and the dead, out loud, conversation. If I were in charge, we’d each read what we chose in silence. Then converse actively, engaged, on a topic of agreement. Clearly, I am not in charge. Out of respect, I guess I’m okay with that.

After breakfast, which has been taking way longer than it should lately, I make my way upstairs and get ready for whatever the day has to offer. With no real plans for the day, we’d discussed perhaps visiting a winery that has been on “our list”. My wine club selection of the month was ready to be picked up at V. Sattui Winery, which we could cross off the to-do list, as well. We made our “spontaneous” plan, grabbed a picnic basket and a few supplies and headed “up valley”, a few hours later, Mom and me.

We’ve been wanting to visit Grgich Hills Estate Winery in Rutherford. We’ve passed several times in the past few months and each time we say, “we need to go there some time.” Mike Grgich made wine history in 1976 when his Chardonnay won the Paris wine tasting. Recently, a movie was made about Mike and it has been on Mom’s movie list. Sadly, it isn’t available through Netflix, so she’s been wondering how she’d be able to see the movie without purchasing it.

Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Grgich Hills Estate Winery
The Napa Valley Wine Train stops at Grgich Hills Estate Winery. How cool is that?
The Napa Valley Wine Train stops at Grgich Hills Estate Winery. How cool is that?
Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Grgich Hills Estate Winery

We were among several visitors at Grgich Hills today, being a sunny Sunday in the Napa Valley and a couple of days after the harvest began. The winery and tasting room, compared to others in the area, is nice but not ostentatious. It reminded us both of the “old” Napa winery tasting rooms, dim, cool, concrete floor, simple rough, wood bar and forthright, well-informed sommeliers to assist. They offered a couple of tasting options, one of their Napa Valley wines, which are widely available, then another more expensive option, with more exclusive wines, not widely available. We went for the ordinary, since that is what was complimentary with the Napa Valley Vintners “Napa Neighbors” program. In other words, five samples of legendary, though widely available, Napa wines, for free. Of course, you have to ask for the Napa Neighbors discount, and for a 100% discount, I’m happy to do so. Our sommelier was very good, Simon, from Philadelphia. He was friendly and informative. Mom asked about the video, whether it was for sale at the winery. Simon said it was available, for free, with the purchase of six bottles of wine. I glanced at the price per bottle, at between $30 and $60 per bottle, the purchase of six in the next year is remote, in one day, impossible. Simon said sometimes he is able to work something out, though. I got the impression it was pretty much at his discretion.

Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Grgich Hills Estate Winery
Thank you Napa Vintners Napa Neighbors Discounts for the complimentary tasting!
Thank you Napa Vintners Napa Neighbors Discounts for the complimentary tasting!

We enjoyed our five wines, a Chardonnay, a Fume Blanc, Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. I prefer, much prefer, reds to whites, but found both white wines to be quite nice. In other words, I didn’t cringe or shudder when I swallowed them. The reds were all fantastic, and I would’ve loved to buy a bottle of each, but I do have to buy gas, groceries and make my car payment. With an upcoming trip to Alaska on my calendar, though, I did buy two bottles, and was given 10% off, again, for being a local. As my bottle of Zinfandel and Merlot were bagged I, emboldened, perhaps, by the red carpet “locals” treatment, and/or the five generous tastes, I asked if there might be a chance at snagging a copy of the video. But of course! And in the bag it went!

Our first tasting.
Our first tasting.
Our second tasting.
Our second tasting.
Our third tasting and one I purchased.
Our third tasting and one I purchased.
Our fourth tasting and another I purchased.
Our fourth tasting and another I purchased.
Our final tasting and one I wish I could've purchased.
Our final tasting and one I wish I could’ve purchased.

Triumphant after our conquest at Grgich Hills, we headed north to St. Helena to pick up my monthly club selections at V. Sattui. Two more zinfandels. Good thing I like Zinfandel! Mom and I decided not to taste wine, here, too. The cops are pretty thick on Sunday afternoons. We did spend some time at the cheese sample counter, though. We bought a sandwich, some strawberries and a small crème brulee for our picnic and headed out to the wooden tables on the grass in the shade of the trees. It was crowded, but several tables were only half full. We shared a table with a young family, a man, his wife and two children. They were chatty and we compared notes on the wines. Mom and I enjoyed our picnic and headed home quite content.

V. Sattui Winery. We come here at least monthly, to pick up my wine club selections. Always love the flowers.
V. Sattui Winery. We come here at least monthly, to pick up my wine club selections. Always love the flowers.
Mom at the cheese sampling counter at V. Sattui Winery.
Mom at the cheese sampling counter at V. Sattui Winery.
V. Sattui Winery. They have picnic fixings, which is good,  because you can't bring your own.
V. Sattui Winery. They have picnic fixings, which is good, because you can’t bring your own.
Who doesn't love a picnic? It seems to be a lost pastime. Replaced, perhaps, by the ever popular BBQ.
Who doesn’t love a picnic? It seems to be a lost pastime. Replaced, perhaps, by the ever popular BBQ.
A picnic without wine isn't actually a picnic. My opinion. But one that matters.
A picnic without wine isn’t actually a picnic. My opinion. But one that matters.
Requisite picture of my plate.
Requisite picture of my plate.
Our creme brulee.
Our creme brulee.
Me and Mom.
Me and Mom.

Really, a fantastic day for a day without plans! Cheers!

May I Have Your Attention, Please?

May I have your attention, please? This is big.

We all want attention. Admit it. We are no different from small children or dogs, we want attention and we will resort to certain measures to secure it. Like small children and dogs, some of us seek attention by any means, even if the attention we receive is negative in nature. Others of us, perhaps through trial or error, or through maturity, sophistication or some method of self-awareness and a resulting course of action, have found more positive ways to secure the attention we desire. But, no matter what, we all need attention and will find a way to attract it.

Unless you’re a superstar on the stage or screen, an actor, actress or musician, chances are, whether you are consciously aware of it or not, you’d probably like to attract more attention than you do. I don’t think anyone is truly satisfied with the amount of attention they are receiving until there are paparazzi surrounding their homes and following their every move. And even then, some crave more. Ok, maybe just Brittany Spears and Justin Bieber.

For the rest of us, how is it done?

Let’s address the negative methods first. The negative methods of attracting attention range wildly from the sort of annoying to the outright life threatening. Simply annoying; the loud sneezer, cougher, laugher, talker, gastric disturbance, moaning, grunting, groaning, sighing, stomping, door slamming, noisily moving about, crying people. There are those in between simply annoying and the dangerous; the liars, fibbers, gossips, cheats, chronic complainers, drama queens and back stabbers. I call these folks the “untouchables”, because I really prefer they not touch my life, in any respect. I don’t want to even share space with them. Seek to avoid. The truly dangerous folks are more likely to be dangerous to themselves, but can sometimes be dangerous to those around them; the self-destructive, the addicts, whether drugs, alcohol, overeating, promiscuity, overspending, or violence, these extremists are a danger to themselves and others, often out of a need for attention.

And we all fall into one, or more, categories, depending on our personal collection of habits and our, often unrealized, need for attention. That need for attention is often so deep seated that we do not, and often cannot ever, know what its original source is or was. Often a result of childhood, whether out of birth order, family upheaval, uncertainty, instability, or some other childhood family dynamic, or a behavioral development from later in life, experiences in adolescence, peer pressure, trauma, or low self esteem.

Low self-esteem, actually, is at the root of most attention deficits, no matter what the original catalyst was. And I don’t mean attention deficit disorder, that’s a topic for a whole other conversation, I mean, simply, the gap between the amount of attention we think we deserve versus the amount of attention we are receiving from the people that surround us, whether at work, at home, at school, or all of our environments.

These behaviors are so ingrained that we are usually quite unaware. It’s not like we sit there and contemplate what action we’re going to employ to receive some kind of notice or attention. Let’s take an annoying action, like sneezing loudly. I’m quite certain people who sneeze extraordinarily loudly don’t intentionally plot out their actions each and every time their nose tickles a bit. But somewhere along the line, most likely in youth, a loud, over exaggerated sneeze garnered them a certain amount of, most likely, somewhat negative attention. But, attention nonetheless. I often think loud sneezers, coughers, gastric upset noisemakers did not receive all the attention they desired from their parents or other family members, it became a means of standing out, of making their presence known. Loud coughers, I think, are either from the previous category, or fit into the very popular and overused hypochondriac category, drawing attention to oneself through the expression of illness, infirmity and/or injury because it’s easier than satisfying the attention quota through a more positive, active means such as achievement or merit.

That, actually, is what I think it all comes down to; we seek attention and because we lack the means to garner it through merit or achievement, perhaps resulting from events or circumstances early in life, we find other, less desirable but marginally effective means of filling the void. So, the key, then, is to identify our undesirable patterns for attracting attention, do some sincere self-reflection as to the cause or, better yet, the method for achieving the results or merit to gain more positive attention. Sounds easy, right? If only. Many of the troubles in the world would be solved if for that.

I think the first step, then, after some sincere soul searching and self-reflection, is to examine our self-esteem. How do WE feel about ourselves? Are we people we’d like to spend time with? Would we want to work with ourselves, live with ourselves, marry ourselves? Do we really, truly, genuinely like ourselves, admire ourselves, and, here it is, give ourselves the time and attention we deserve? If the answer to any portion of that is anything but a resounding “YES!” we have some work to do.

Do you suspect, as I do, that the ever increasing reliance of many on anti-depressants and other mind or mood altering drugs or treatments is to treat nothing more than symptoms or conditions caused by chronic low self-esteem issues? I honestly think low self-esteem is the one epidemic, yes, epidemic, that will have the most long term, destructive impact on our population, our society, and humanity as a whole. An organic cure for self-esteem, I promise, is all the world needs now. That and, as the song says, love sweet love. But self-esteem and love sweet love are also related. It is, in my humble and perhaps naive opinion, the one cure to almost everything. In fact, if our democracy collapses, I will blame low self-esteem. If our planet is colonized by alien life forms, I will blame low self-esteem. It is the root of all evil.

With stress and depression more and more often being considered contributing factors to conditions, illness and disease, and, if I’m even half right, low self-esteem being at the root of stress and depression, doesn’t it make a hell of a lot more sense to treat low self esteem than the results of it; stress and depression?  Lets treat the cause, not the symptoms that result from it, or the disease that manifests from the resulting stress and depression.

How, then, do we treat low self-esteem? The best method, of course, is prevention, early in childhood. Raising children in a manner that builds a healthy self-esteem will prevent many of the negative behavior patterns for fulfilling attention deficits. For the rest of us, it is a process, and one that has no one, prescribed, course of action. If you answered any of the questions above with anything other than a resounding “YES!” then start to take a hard look at your own self-esteem. Read books, read blogs, and, basically, identify what it is about you that you don’t like and fix it. This is definitely an oversimplified course of action, but in it’s condensed form, is true. I have written and written and written on measures to improve self-esteem, actions I have personally researched, used, and achieved satisfactory results from. No, the same methods will not work for everyone in every situation, but, you have to start somewhere and that first step, after identifying the problem, is educating yourself. Which I continue to do, and which I continue to write about.

So, the next time you sneeze, cough, laugh or belch, loud enough for people to exclaim, the next time you fib, tell an unsavory story about someone else, or cheat, the next time you take that drug, beat your partner or hurt yourself purposefully, stop. Think. And realize, this is a you problem, as one of my co-workers likes to say. This isn’t about anyone but you. To solve your self-esteem issues is the best, most wonderful attention anyone can pay you. And you’re in luck! You’re the only one who can do it! You don’t have to rely on anyone else to pay you this high honor! Just you! The trick, then, is to figure, out how, and that could be both hard and time consuming. The good news is, once you begin to pay yourself the attention you deserve in identifying and trying to figure out and solve your self esteem issues, you’ll likely find you require a little less attention from external sources. Nurture this and you’re well on your way. If you are in the latter category, a danger to yourself or others, after identifying your issue, the first step is going to be seeking professional help in taking the next steps. Yours is not a road to be walked alone.

So, in case you’re still wondering what the positive methods for attracting more positive attention are, they begin with you and revolve around your self-esteem. It is unlikely that many will adore, cherish, love, respect and honor you if you, yourself, do not find yourself worthy of being adored, cherished, loved, respected and honored. If you think poorly of yourself, sadly, that is the precedent you set for others, and it manifests. Our evolution into the person we’d like to become begins with an initial effort, to feel that we deserve to become the person we’d like to become. Until we clear that hurdle, nothing else, no matter the effort made, can be accomplished. Our evolution is only made possible by our self-worthiness. Until then, it is only a futile effort. Find within yourself the ability to approve of and to like yourself, then the rest will begin to evolve from there. With continued effort.

Do I have your attention, now?

Serial Killers

What if I told you there was a gang of serial killers out there, they are extremely dangerous, bloodthirsty and kill daily? Would you be a little worried?

There is. There is a gang of serial killers, they attack, each on their own, they attack as a merciless gang. They lurk in the darkened alley ways of the city, they wander the lonely roads in the country, they sneak into homes, office buildings, job sites, and campuses, no place is safe, really. They are always looking for, and finding new victims. They will revisit those they have victimized before. You have already been victimized, perhaps, targeted, at least. I’m quite certain they know exactly where you are and they are patiently waiting for the opportune moment to strike.

These serial killers will never be caught by the police, they will never be tried or imprisoned for their heinous crimes, they have a certain impunity. They are so present in our society, in our daily lives, they are latent and awaiting the moment to execute. Most violent crime is committed by those we know than by strangers. These killers are no different, we usually open the door and invite them right in without even a thought. Our actions, or inactions, make it very easy for them to become a part of our lives, to become familiar, to become intimate. Then they kill.

They will destroy you if you let them, but you will not actually die. You will be tortured and the pain could be worse than anything you’ve ever experienced. It’s possible, very possible, that they will return, again and again, to victimize you over and over. You need to know who they are, you need to know how to identify them, and, most importantly, you need to know what to do when you meet them in a dark hallway, because chances are, you will. You may already be battling them and you just don’t realize their lethalness.

This gang of killers are inattentiveness, indifference, indecisiveness, disinterest and they are responsible for killing ambition, motivation, relationships, friendships, careers, goals, and any chance for personal growth, success or evolution. If you just let out a big sigh of relief, that was probably the wrong reaction. While these killers will not actually take your life, they will destroy it, if you let them. Do you care?

Allow me to introduce you the each of them so you’ll know how to recognize them.

Inattentiveness
adj.
Exhibiting a lack of attention; not attentive.

This silent killer sneaks up on us so stealthily we rarely notice until it has a grip on us we can’t break free of. Think of a once vibrant, loving relationship where great attention was paid. The lovers took delight in conversation with one another, listened actively in order to learn more about each other. Every touch was a thrill and they touched often. Great consideration was given to the need for affection, for comfort. As the relationship ages and the lovers have learned all there is to know about their beloved, their conversations become less involved, less frequent, less meaningful. Because nothing interesting is being shared, just the gripes and complaints and trivial happenings of the passing days, active listening becomes the first victim. Since active listening often involves looking intently at one another, in offering empathy, comfort, and affection, these benefits disappear, leaving the lovers to feel unappreciated, uninteresting, unimportant, and lonely. Not worthy of attention. A lack of caring. Lovers become more aware of their differences, of petty annoyances and disregard the feelings, thoughts and ideals they once shared in common. This creates a feeling of loss, of frustration, of abandonment between the lovers, which most certainly does not strengthen the relationship and more often, becomes the impetus for the deliberate destruction of the relationship.

Inattentiveness can also attack a friendship in a very similar manner. Friends who have lost interest in one another, like lovers, will drift apart and become more identified with their differences than with what they share.

Inattentiveness is present in our vocations, as well, whether in our careers or in our studies. We are usually enthusiastic with new endeavors, with new pursuits, they interest us and we devote a great deal of focused, positive energy to them in both thought and deed, usually resulting in high performance and recognition or reward. Once our new vocation becomes routine, we often begin to pay less attention to the details, the energy dwindles, our performance begins to falter. The recognition and reward we once enjoyed is less frequent, has become totally absent, or perhaps, has been replaced with reprimand.

Inattentiveness is tricky to combat because it is so tricky to detect and thwart before the damage occurs. Whether in a relationship, a friendship or with a vocation, it is important to always bare in mind the details that should be attended to on a regular basis. This can be done in a number of ways; making a meditative effort to pay attention through affirmations or a regular exercise in paying gratitude. Making attentiveness part of your daily routine, for example, a revolving “to do” list on your work or study calendar, or, making a routine, concerted effort to call or visit your friends, to share experiences with them regularly that will become something in common that you share, can remember and reminisce about in future conversations. Likewise with lovers, devote a time each day, perhaps during a meal, to actively listen and actively share, make a habit of doing things together, like preparing meals, doing dishes or other chores, just sharing quiet, active time, working side by side can be a lot more attentive than it sounds. Be sure to also make a routine habit of sharing new experiences, walking in a new park, taking in a play by a local theater company, anything, really, that can become something you share in common, fodder for conversations and fond memories. Always take that extra moment, everyday, to say “I hope you have a great day today” and “I’m glad you’re home (here), I missed you”.

Inattentiveness, though very lethal and very powerful, can be easily avoided altogether by developing the behaviors that thwart it into daily or routine habits. Remember, habits are behaviors that have become ingrained, that have become so much a part of what we do, we feel we can’t function without them. Attentiveness is the obvious antidote to the destructive effects of inattentiveness. Foster attentiveness, always, make it a habit and avoid the pain, loss and misery of inattentiveness.

Indifference
n
1. the fact or state of being indifferent; lack of care or concern
2. lack of quality; mediocrity
3. lack of importance; insignificance

Indifference is similar to inattentiveness in that it will kill a relationship, a friendship or sabotage your vocation. Indifference does not behave in the same manner as inattentiveness. Inattentiveness usually attacks after the passage of time. Indifference is already there, from the beginning, just lying in wait. Indifference is a reaction to something that is said or to a task to be undertaken, and it basically translates to “I don’t care.” Stop and repeat those words “I don’t care.” How damaging they can be. Think of things your lover or your friends say to you that you really don’t care about a great deal. Can you imagine how they would feel if you said, out loud, “I don’t care about what you’re saying at all.” It would be crushing. Can you imagine what your supervisor at work or your teacher at school would do if you said “I don’t care about this task or assignment at all.” If we vocalized our lack of care or concern, indicated the lack of significance or importance we assigned to all we considered of lesser importance we would definitely find ourselves out of love, out of friends and out of work in a short spell. Keep in mind, that vocalization is not the only method of communicating. Your actions, or inactions, though unspoken, speak volumes. A shrug, an irritated sigh, an eye roll. Forgetting to perform a favor or a task because it doesn’t matter as much to you as it does to the other party, hurriedly completing tasks because you’ve waited until the last minute to start them because of the insignificance you’ve assigned to them. Saying you’ll get to something without the actual intent to do so or pawning the task off on someone else. Whether any of these happen within a relationship or at work, they will communicate indifference, they will say, loud and clear, “I don’t care.”

In a relationship or a friendship, we are, or should be, vested. We should care because the other party cares. If anything is of significance or importance to the other party, it should, for that reason alone, be significant or important to you. Care enough to care because it does make a difference, the difference being a lasting, thriving relationship, the reward of a job well done, a small investment for a lasting benefit.

Indecisiveness
adj.
1. Prone to or characterized by indecision; irresolute
2. Inconclusive
3. Not clearly defined; indefinite

Indecisiveness is an interesting creature, and a quiet killer. Indecisiveness is characterized by the inability, or unwillingness, to make a decision. It demonstrates a lack of commitment, a lack of caring.

In a relationship or a friendship, indecisiveness often results when one party asks another to make a choice, a decision, or state a preference. Usually, the inquiring party poses the question as a means of involving the other party in an action, an activity, or a decision that he or she thinks is important. The inquiry can be made in an effort to share an experience or an activity, task, or decision of interest or magnitude. Indecision translates to “I don’t want to be involved,” or “it doesn’t matter.” True, some indecision comes out of concern over choosing incorrectly, a lack of knowledge required to make the decision, or ignorance, but they all communicate the same result.

Indecision in our vocation represents an unwillingness to participate in a process or action we have been assigned or in which we are expected to participate. Indecision often translates, or in fact becomes, inaction, a lack of performance. We are expected to perform in exchange for some compensation; pay for a job, grades for studies. Lack of performance will usually result in diminished pay (or pay increase) or diminished grades.

Indifference is a lazy killer, it is inherent and lurks, it just sneaks in in response, without thought or deliberation. To destroy indecision, make the decision to be involved, when asked. If someone cares enough to want to involve you in the decision making process, if you are expected to take action and make a decision, in both cases, the only respectful thing to do is to decide. If you lack the information, the knowledge, the facts or the courage to make the decision, ask for some guidance. This act, alone, demonstrates respect and your willingness to be involved, to participate. Simply saying “what do I need to know to make a decision?” or “how best to decide?” demonstrates your willingness and your respect, it engages the other party actively, the decision is made collectively, and everyone is pleased.

Disinterest
noun
1. Apathy, lack of interest, disregard, detachment, absence of feeling

Disinterest is the deadliest and usually will work closely with inattentiveness, indifference and indecisiveness. Disinterest is always nearby, always hiding, always ready to attack. In relationships and friendships, in our vocation, disinterest is common and disinterest is hurtful. Disinterest is natural, but its expression is detrimental. To express disinterest is to diminish the importance, or the joy, even, that is held by the other party, whether a lover, a friend, an employer or an instructor. To harbor disinterest will destroy any kind of relationship.

It is not an expectation that we will all find an equal measure of importance or joy in that which interests those we interact with. To be less interested, or uninterested, is normal. But, out of respect, to be interested enough to listen, to consult, advise, to care will mitigate the harm. To disregard the interest is extremely hurtful in a relationship or friendship, and in our vocation demonstrates our unwillingness to participate in the process or action we are expected to participate in.

When we become detached from a topic or subject, we are creating a separation or distance with those who find interest. It may be a small fissure, at first, but continued detachment or disregard will create a division that may become impossible to span, at some point, a large void, a chasm, an abyss.

When we feel a lack of interest in a topic or subject of someone we interact with, to defeat disinterest, we often just need to inquire, to seek further understanding, to implore. By seeking additional knowledge or understanding, interest is expressed, and often, a genuine interest ensues. Our lack of interest is usually a defense mechanism for a failure to fully understand or empathize. Whether in agreement, or not, with the topic or subject, once more enlightened, a more complete understanding will allow you to interact more fully, to demonstrate respect, empathy and caring, all critical in any type of personal relationship or professional or academic interaction.

Knowing just a little more about the dangers that lie in wait for us, for our relationships, our friendships and in our vocations, affords us the ability to defeat them. When we go out into the world, or assume safety in our homes, there are always dangers present, danger of victimization at the hands of criminals and those who seek to do us harm. The best defense to any of these dangers is being aware; being aware of the potential hazards, being aware of our surroundings, being aware of where to seek safety, if necessary. Protecting ourselves from the serial killers we identified above; inattentiveness, indifference, indecisiveness, disinterest, is no different. We need to know, first, that they exist and what threat the pose. We need to be vigilantly aware of their presence and how to avoid them, where to seek safety from their actions should we encounter them. Pay careful attention. Care full. Care.