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When I was younger and in a boring situation, I used to play a little game called, “What does he/she do?” The game was simple. It was to find a “mark,” for the lack of a better word, watch their walk, movements and if possible, listen to them talk and then make a guess on their occupation. To find out if I was right, I would go over and ask them. If they wondered why I ask, I simply told them. Most of the time, they were bored too and some even joined me in the game.
Photographers were easy in those days, they had heavy equipment and carried to one side, so their posture was off. People in charge of others in a white-collar situation had an aloof appearance, while those in charge in a blue-collar situation had a bully demeanor. The game also led to heightening my senses. There’s a subtle smell in the air, barely perceptible, but there, when someone is about to take an aggressive action. If you train, you can feel it and even smell it.
Training isn’t hard. It’s simply making yourself more mindful of what’s going on around you. Everything you do can build that type of situational awareness. If you go out to dinner, make a game of guessing the stories of the people around you and identify the reasons you believe it to be true. Eventually, you’ll get really good at noticing the little things, such as a small flinch when one person puts their hand on the others or the sweet, barely imperceptible smile in a loving relationship.
Taking that a step further for protection, you now are aware of “normal” behavior, look for what is out of place. When you go into any restaurant or building, finding the best place to sit to scan the room is important. Notice where all the entrances and exits are and if possible, have a clear view of the area with your back to the wall. Focus on remembering the scene and the descriptions of the people in it. Guess who drives the big truck or the sports car outside. Memorize everything in the scene and then create a game for the way home where you ask each other questions about it, such as the color of the uniform of the server or the color of his or her eyes, the number of people at the counter. You’ll begin to sense when something is out of whack with a person and feel danger if any is present.
Do you know when you want to bug in or bug out? Find out in To Bug In or to Bug Out: That is the Question.
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