Friday, September 29, 2006


ob ser va tion Pronunciation [ob-zur-vey-shuhn]

1. an act or instance of noticing or perceiving.
2. an act or instance of regarding attentively or watching.
3. the faculty or habit of observing or noticing.
4. notice: to escape a person's observation.
5. an act or instance of viewing or noting a fact or occurrence for some scientific or other special purpose: the observation of blood pressure under stress.
6. the information or record secured by such an act.
7. something that is learned in the course of observing things: My observation is that such clouds mean a storm.
8. a remark, comment, or statement based on what one has noticed or observed.
9. the condition of being observed.
10. Navigation.
a. the measurement of the altitude or azimuth of a heavenly body for navigational purposes.
b. the information obtained by such a measurement.
11. Obsolete. observance, as of the law.


[Origin: 1350–1400; ME ~L observātiōn- (s. of observātiō), equiv. to observāt(us) (ptp. of observāre to observe) + -iōn- -ion]

The act of noticing or perceiving... What Fun! I especially enjoy observing people in those moments when they think (or at least hope) there is nobody around to observe them. Like the guy sitting on the train who (as disgusting as it is) picks his nose thinking nobody can see him do it.

Or last night in the Sainsbury's when I was getting vegetables to make some Jambalaya for this weekend. A man (and apparently not a vagrant- he was dressed fairly nicely) picked a lovely peach out of the pile cast a glance over at the service desk, and ate the peach; leaving the pit on the floor in front of the display.

Or as I was leaving the store and a kid was skateboarding on the opposite side of the street, by the old post office, and chatting with a friend. He turned and called to his friend "he watch this." Though what it was that he wanted his friend to watch has been lost to everyone. Because as he was saying "this" he it the bottom step of the old post office and toppled over ear first into walk.

You can't get much more entertaining than that, or can you?

On the way back home with my groceries in the messenger sack slung over my shoulder, I was riding in the rain down Maple Road when this young lady (huddled under her umbrella) turned and started across the road (ten feet short of the zebra crossing) and stepped right into my path. There was on-coming traffic and a taxi about to overtake me so I came to a halt, skidding on the wet pavement.

She looked up sheepishly at me, and then looked at the zebra crossing. She tucked herself under her umbrella and took the three steps to the crossing and crossed the street legally. I was so astonished that I just stood and watched. Had I been that black cab instead of a cyclist, I probably could not have stopped in time.

This morning, with the rain over the streets dry, the air is clear and I am writing up my observations. Observation one: We all do dumb things. Observation two: You can never assume that you are unobserved. (You can only hope!)

I hope that wherever you are today, you are unobserved in the dumb things that you will inevitably do today!

Don Bergquist - 29 September 2006 - Thames Ditton, Surrey, UK

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