What do you pay attention to the most in your environment?

I’m speaking of physical (objects and areas in different buildings) and human environments (people who you see at school, work, bars, whatever) that you often find yourself in.

The more creative or unusual, the better!

I’m very aware of pollen. Very painful sinus action.

I’m always adjusting the light and contrast within the room, endlessly shifting the blinds as the day progresses, to cut glare on my computer screen but still allowing me to see out to the street.

I think probably smells.

In my work environment (a maximum security prison), I’m most aware of anything that’s not routine.

Dunno, I work off of my peripheral vision mostly when I’m moving.

I ride a motorcycle a lot, and so I’ve become very attentive to physical hazards in my environment. Just like everyone else, I’m an above-average driver, and I shake my head a lot at the stupid stuff I see other drivers doing: tailgating, not anticipating/planning for whatever is coming up in the next thirty seconds, and so on.

The constant scanning has become such a habit that I do much the same thing when I’m walking, especially at the office. Walking down the hall, my eyes move toward the bottom of the doorways as I walk past them; that’s where someone’s foot will protrude before the rest of their body, giving me a clue that someone’s about to walk out of their office and collide with me. At major hallway intersections there are actually mirrors up near the ceilling so you can see when someone is coming around the corner. I always use these. At blind hallway corners, I always “swing wide” so I can avoid people cutting tightly around the corner. In all these situations, listening for footsteps is a big clue too. If all this seems a bit over the top, it’s worth pointing out that I work in a lab where people are sometimes carrying delicate/expensive equipment; just like other drivers out on the road, it’s surprising and distressing to me how careless some of my coworkers are in this setting.

The sounds of machinery are important to me. In a machine shop, you can get important clues as to how things are going by listening to the sound of the cutting tool, or listening to the machine’s motor to get an idea of how hard it’s working. Same thing with my car or bike.

On vacation? I call up every sense I can to soak up as much of the experience as possible. Alone on the side of a mountain in Colorado? Obviously the view commands your attention. But the sound of the wind blowing through pine trees (combined with the silence of nobody else and no machines) almost brings me to tears. Throw in the smell of pine, and I’m in heaven. It smells different when it’s wet than dry; heck, it even feels different as the air enters your nose. Sage behaves much the same way when you’re in the high desert.

Me too. Highly allergic and prone to migraine; perfumes and fumes of any kind can trigger me. I have to be very aware.

I think I pay most attention to people. Specfically, in group situations, who is participating in the conversation, who is hanging back, and who gets interrupted. It’s a work thing I imagine - I teach kids, so I’m constantly trying to maintain a balance between the students and keep some from dominating the class and others from fading into the background.

Apart from people, I don’t notice much else. My boyfriend always twitches when he hears an engine nearby; I rarely even notice.

Scent, absolutely. My nose is really sensitive. When someone microwaves one of those chemical-smelling boxed dinners, I usually leave for a while, sometimes just getting up and taking my work elsewhere. I can tell if my son is sick by his smell. And, oddly enough, one of the things that attracted me most to my husband was the way he smelled. There are tons and tons of different smells, some completely inoccuous, others that make me want to gag.

I don’t get migraines or allergies from them, but some definitely make me want to recoil in distaste.

I pay attention to beautiful scenery wherever I go. When I’m walking, I’ll notice the way a particular tree sways in the wind, or the texture of a tree trunk, or a butterfly flitting among some flowers, or a flock of birds flying past some clouds, or the full moon shining against the dark sky. If I see a beautiful flower, or a majestic-looking tree, I’ll pause just to drink in the sight. I think the myriad shapes and colors and tones and textures of the sky in the daytime, or at sunset, are endlessly beautiful. Half the time I’m staring up at the sky, and I end up tripping over my feet. People? Bah, they’re boring. Give me nature any day.

I do have an eagle eye for graffiti. I carry a few different cans of spray paint in my trunk and will obliterate the latest assaults on the posts and mailboxes in my vicinity.

Potential assailants.

Sounds are a big one for me.
If I’m driving in an area I don’t visit very often, it’s not uncommon for me to associate it with a radio program that was playing the last time I was there. I can’t tell you what I heard at the corner of Main and 1st, but send me back and it may well start playing in my head again.
I’ve discovered that I set my speed, when driving, largely by sound.
The sight of an unusual car driving by may not catch my attention, but a strange sounding vehicle has to be checked out.
I’ve almost always got the radio, music, or the TV playing. I may not be paying attention, but for some reason, I want the background noise.

Speech patterns at my office. For some reason, I get obsessed with how people speak, as opposed to what they’re speaking about (which usually doesn’t interest me at all). If some blatherer repeats some pet phrase continually or is louder than necessary or is a shrieky giggler, I’ll get unreasonably annoyed and have to leave the area for awhile. I think I’ve been working here too long.

Wow, you, too, eh? I get especially annoyed by the phatic use of the word “like”, most often spoken by teens and twentysomethings (I’m knocking on the door of 40 myself, so maybe it’s my age that contributes to this annoyance of mine). I don’t hear this a lot at my workplace, but there are a few violators. Most of the time I hear these people in places such as Denny’s at midnight when there will be a table full of high-school or college-aged people. It grates on my nerves to listen to someone say, “So I was like, hey, let’s go to a party this weekend, but then my boyfriend is like, ‘I got like so wasted last night’…” Usually it’s girls who tend to speak this way, I’ve noticed.

As for my physical environment, I pay attention to the designs of various things, such as buildings, streets, cars on the road, placement of trees and vegetation, etc. I’m quite observant by nature and I am quick to notice if something has changed (e.g. a new sign that has been put up), or if an old building was razed (often times, though, I cannot remember what was there before). I also pay close attention to sounds and noises. If I don’t have music playing I’ll notice everything from birds chirping to traffic noises.

I’m also a weather watcher, so if there are clouds I like to note which direction they are in and in which direction they are moving.