If you watch a cat or dog (or any other creature for that matter) you can't help noticing how aware they are of where they are and what's happening around them. Even pampered, indoor pets respond to sounds, sights and smells. They may not do anything about it but ears prick, noses twitch and they focus on whatever disturbed them until they are told or work out that no danger threatens.
So what has happened to those instincts in humans. Granted we live in cities for the most part where there is little unfamiliar. We tend to follow the same routes and routines to the point that most of us have at some time found ourselves where we were going without any real memory of how we got there.
It seems to me that we are either losing these basic instincts or cutting ourselves off from the world in which we live. I'm not suggesting we should all go out hunting game to revive our awareness or live in a hut in the bush. Nor should we become hyper sensitive to the point that we are afraid to go anywhere or do anything. What I do think is that we should try to experience the world in which we live to the fullest extent we can. It's a pretty amazing place and along the way we might actually, by learning from what is happening around us, make ourselves safer.
What started this train of thought was something quite unimportant. Last Thursday Virgo and her partner headed off on their travels beginning in South America. Pisces and I were standing in the airport terminal waiting for them to check in. Before I go any further I should tell you that we are both passionate AFL - Australian Rules football - supporters. There are two teams in Western Australia - the Eagles and the Dockers - and the Dockers have a uniform which is largely a very rich, deep - and one would think unmissable - purple.
So we're standing chatting, watching Virgo progress along the check in line, when two young purple clad Dockers players come out of the check in and walk past us. After this a camera crew from a local television channel sets up about four metres away from us and are joined by a newspaper photographer. Two minutes later three Dockers go by, then two more, and another five, then the coach. Then a second camera crew arrives.
At this point I ask, "Where are the Dockers playing this weekend?"
Pisces asks, "Why?"
I say, "Because they are here. Didn't you notice them?"
Pisces does a double take and realises for the first time that we are pretty much surrounded by players, support staff and cameras.
By the way the Dockers match is on television at this minute and they look as though they're in for another drubbing. Not that I can crow. I'll be surprised if the Eagles do any better tomorrow - but I can still hope in spite of everything, can't I.