As usual, I have far too much to write about, and only two posts a week on which to write. That being said, I want to strike some sort of balance when it comes to the general tone of these posts. Seeing writing in colour, I don't want this to be a mass of dark grey- Hopefully I am maintaining some sort of equilibrium.
Living in the city I see a lot of phones. Phones being taken out of pockets, phones cradled between cheek and shoulder, phones being abused beneath overactive thumbs. Most of all, I see phones being a huge distraction.
Sitting on the subway a minimum of four days (and twice as many hours) a week, my eyes are constantly met with the sight of people hunched over, eyes glued to these tiny little screens. Every time I see them I am forced to ask myself (since I cannot ask them) the question Why?
I'm struck by the irony of the telephone, a device meant to bridge a gap between two people, to facilitate communication, instead being used as a gadget to keep oneself from having to interact with anyone. There isn't even any service underground (unless you're in Hong Kong), so you can't even use the phone to call or text.
I realize that I sound like an old man. To be more specific, an old man who is sick and tired of these newfangled gizmos and doohickeys and how they're complicating the world; who misses the good ol' days when he had to walk two hours through the snow to the closest internet, and where there wasn't no such thing as this wireless he hears young people complaining about these days.
Breaking it down, though, I wish people would look up a little more. People are always sitting there, tight-lipped, avoiding eye contact. If anyone is talking anywhere on the train, you can feel the general atmosphere sour if they're even a decibel louder than they need be, as if the general populace were cherishing the silence like some kind of vestal virgin, in danger of desecration.
Last week an old-ish black dude sat next to me on the subway and asked where I was from. After specifying that he meant where I was from ethnically, and hearing that I was half-Filipino, he started talking about the politics of the country. It turned out that he was in the know because he had worked for the CIA, and that he had retired due to old age and that he took the TTC because he could talk to people; because in a car you can't talk to anyone.
I don’t assume that he ever was with the CIA, or that they gave him a tidy sum of money to live comfortably in Canada. What I do know, however, is that it was refreshing to have someone to talk to. To know that some people share that freedom of being able to engage those around them. People who aren't afraid to ask you what you're reading, or who those flowers are for, or where you got that frozen pizza that you're balancing on your lap.
I'd like to be one of those people someday; maybe I'll even have to pull off a little bit of crazy to do it.