The touch that recalibrates

I noticed something strange the other day when I got off the train one morning on my way to work. There was a guy in front of me that got off the train and just before it pulled away, he reached out and touched it.

“Hmmm”, I thought. I’m not the only one that does that.

Quite often, when I get off the train, I walk alongside it and put my hand or finger on it. It’s always been a thing I do.

I do it with other things too, not just the train. As I move about, I regularly run my hand along stationary objects around me.

As I’ve tried to figure out why, I’ve developed a theory.

I think it’s a way to calibrate myself in my environment.

As any martial artist knows, awareness is key. Knowing where you are and where the things (and people) around you are is essential to awareness.

When I reach out to touch the things around me, I’m updating my data about where everything is.

It’s like when a dog tilts his head back and forth when he hears something he doesn’t quite understand. He’s gathering more information, from different angles and perspectives to calibrate himself.

I also do things like stick my foot out behind me to locate a pole I’m standing in front of, orĀ  back up until my backpack touches the wall I know is behind me.

All these things are a way for me to figure out where I am and where the things around me are.

So the next time you see someone touching things around them, or notice yourself doing it, think about it. Is it an awareness thing?

I think it just may be.

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