Blind Spots

Wednesday 7 June, 2000

Blind spots. These are gaps in a person’s awareness which make them oblivious to their actions. During a visit to buy some nuts and bolts with Karaj I witnessed such a blind spot but only began to understand it after discussion with Karaj.

As we entered the shop Karaj held up a bolt and announced to the young assistant that he required a 2½-inch nut. My immediate thought was to dive in and explain that it was a 2½-inch bolt that we required. However, I refrained from getting involved and instead just watched as confusion spread across the assistant’s face for the first time. It would not be the last time either.

Karaj gave further specifications but was dissatisfied with the bolts he was given. Then the phone rang and our assistant went to answer it whilst Karaj searched around for just the sort of bolt he needed. By the time the phone call was finishing Karaj had found what he was looking for and asked the same assistant to notify his colleague to stop looking because we had found what we came for.

This threw me completely. Fortunately our assistant seemed to have had prior experience of people who weren’t quite with it and he politely explained that it was he who had been serving us. Karaj nonchalantly acknowledged this fact as if the assistant was the one at fault, and the discussion about bolts continued.

“I’d like a box of these.”
“But they’re bigger than the ones you wanted.”
“These are fine. I’ll take a whole box, please.”

To me the whole scenario seemed surreal. I’m glad I didn’t get involved because the exchange was confusing enough with just two players, without me complicating matters. After we left I explained to Karaj my perception of the exchange and we both laughed about it.

Karaj explained to me, however, that not only was he unaware of what he was doing but he had also considered the assistant to be the incompetent one because he had not understood what Karaj had wanted. To me this seemed absurd because it was Karaj who had appeared confused about his wishes and the identity of the assistant.

I explained to Karaj how I thought there must be something he could do to avoid such situations occurring again, which is when he explained to me about the blind spots.

The natural tendency in such situations is to dive in and save the person. This, however would result in disaster and should be avoided. If I see someone struggling because of a blind spot then the best thing I can do is to stay out of it. That is not to say that something cannot be said at a later date.

But if the blind spot is anything like Karaj’s, all I need to do is to relax, stand back and allow myself to be entertained in a manner no fictional work could ever capture. Thanks Karaj.


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