listening and talking

I live by Blaze Pizza in Roseville. It's fantastic. Think Chipotle of Pizza. Fresh. Organic. Delicious. Go there. And, have fun, be someone else. I learned something this week. Listening is filled with nearly imperceptible gaps. If I wasn't role playing, I wouldn't have noticed
I should explain.

Every time I go to Blaze, I change up my name. I've been Todd, Robbie, and this past week I was Vermont. As Robbie I was passed along the Blaze assembly line. "Robbie, what kind of sauce would you like?" "Robbie, What toppings?" It's 60 feet of persona.

This week, however, as Vermont, something weird happened (weirder then role playing in a Blaze pizza you ask, while rolling your eyes. Yes!)

The Blaze attendant, let's call him John, added red sauce to my pizza, and as he pushed along my pizza, he said "thanks, Paul." At least, I thought he said, "thanks Paul." But, he couldn't have. I didn't know him. I wasn't wearing aname tag. Every time I go into Blaze I'm someone new. I was Vermont. I've never seen this guy, yet I could have sworn he said, "thanks, Paul."

What's happening? I think my brain shut off, and filled in some gaps. It made some assumptions. How many times have we been told, "thanks, ________." That gap is for your name. It happens hundreds of times. Makes sense your brain would eventually just fill in information it assumes will "go here, and here, and here."

It's like the brain is painting by numbers, and just figures where the numbers go.

That'll mess up your "listening," though. It effected me in Blaze. I've always thought I was a really good listener. I thought I heard most everything, and processed it really well. Maybe not! In fact, that moment reinforced it....definitely not.

How often do you think this happens? How often do you think your brain comes into a situation, hears a little bit, and assumes, "we'll take it from here," and tunes out the rest. It must happen on a micro-scale pretty frequently.

Do you think it happens to you onstage? The interaction with John shook me up. I "knew" I heard something that never existed. I responded to a ghost image. Truly listening is vigilant work moment to moment. I feel like the brain wants to sneak in and simply things with assumptions.

Stay vigilant! :)