Tuesday, March 10, 2009

plugged in

I confess...that I've been thinking about connectedness and our need for constant entertainment.

On Friday, I got it into my head that I wanted to put something "good" into the world in a small way. I was going to find someone on my commute home and compliment them. Nothing big, but maybe it would matter to them.

I go home at 6 on Fridays and the ride is my quietest of the week...I think everyone else either leaves early Friday or sticks in town for dinner. I got on the train and glanced around to find a nearby commuter. But, my plan was foiled by technology. EVERYONE within comfortable speaking distance was either on the phone or plugged into an IPOD or the like (more the latter than the former). I didn't have anything vital to say that would justify interrupting them and asking them to pull out an earpiece. So I didn't say anything.

This sorta bothered me. Does being connected end up stopping us from connecting?

It also brought up a long-standing, semi-related issue I've had with all this portable entertainment. I think we lose something when we can't sit quiet and unplugged for even twenty minutes. This is especially an issue for me with kids and vehicle-based DVDs. I can absolutely understand them for a long trip, but does the kid really need to watch Dora on the ten minute ride to Stop & Shop? I think we're really hurting our kids when we don't give them time that they need to self-entertain in a bit of an un-entertaining environment. I do completely admit that it is much easier to say this as a non-parent who isn't dealing with a whining toddler in the back seat.

Anyway, I complemented someone last night on a pretty ring and she beamed.

And today I warned a guy that he still had a tag on his pants (a big "Marshalls" price tag right at the small of his back). He thanked me profusely for saving him much embarrassment. Good thing he wasn't wearing an IPOD.


Lauren Starks said...

I think about this a lot in my daily commute. I look around at drivers who I term as "Afraid To Be Alone." Yacking away on their mobile. Even as early as I ever leave (6:45), I still see more-drivers-than-not who spend their entire drive on their phones.

Sometimes I think we live in a world that most people are afraid of their own thoughts, and will do whatever it takes to drowned out the inner-noise.

The Rambling Blogger said...

totally agree, lauren.

Lesley said...

I have actually even started to turn off my radio in the car to just enjoy the silence.

I also find that a lot of the time there are people walking together and wearing their ipods!

Anonymous said...

I think that you are right that these devices lead to an impediment to connect with others. Connection is extremely important. Without some connection, some feeling that you are close (it doesn't have to be specific...just feeling alive) then we lose some of our humanity.

The Rambling Blogger said...

freckles....when i drove, i had a period where my radio broke and really did learn to appreciate the silence.

anon...somedays it seems like everyone is on commute auto-pilot. really, why even bother saying "excuse me" when the person you bumped has ear phones on!