The space between social bubbles

Illustration by Robert Pinero.

I once listened as a guy proudly mentioned every social network that he took part in—roughly ten enterprises.  He wasn’t very loud about it; there were four or so people around on their phones who were louder.  When I’ve been right next to someone talking on his or her cellphone, the words that knock against my head always seem to add up to: “You, person not around at the moment, get where I’m coming from.”  I can’t think of ever having heard something like, “Well, no.  I never thought of it that way.”  Occasionally, you hear someone loudly say what are strange words to say on a cellphone in these times:  “I can’t talk right now” —  likely to some significant other trying to keep tabs.

Older than any of these “Social Age” instances, and only a bit louder, is the guy with headphones on, selflessly bombarding his eardrums so that everyone could hear the lyrics of a song as he recites them.  His typical choice of music is met in much the same way that people ignore a guy being roughed up on the street.

All that said, there are people who quietly seek connections to somewhere other than where they are at the moment.  I’m just not sure their always plugging into elsewhere bodes well for anyplace.  Take away one person who might engage positively with their surroundings, wherever they may be, and that counts for something.


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