In the elevator, nobody wants to deal with you.
It’s not about you, though, it’s just that human contacts have become inappropriate in public places. I’m aware that I can’t change that global trend, but I still try to start conversations randomly in the elevator, so I’ll risk an eye contact with strangers, knowing that most of them will choose an avoidance strategies like pretending to be fascinated by the brown undertones of the ceiling or the countdown of stairs blinking above their heads: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Good thing I don’t have insecurities about the size of my nose or anything. I know that people are not rejecting me, they’re just afraid to connect. Our species is losing their social skills.
I’m sure that soon a Japanese architect will come up with beehive shaped elevators, so that every occupant can literally turn their backs on each other, saving everyone the discomfort of a live conversation.
Now, it’d be so much easier to pull out my phone and shuffle through the avalanche of platitudes of my Instagram timeline instead of trying to banter with strangers. But I haven’t surrendered yet. I still want to hear the same platitudes from a live person in front of me, someone who needs more than just another “like” to their comments.
This elevator issue reveals much more about us modern humans: we have a problem just being ourselves and enjoy each other’s presence.
To accommodate this growing insecurity, modern premises are carefully designed to annihilate silence, clubs use insane sound volumes, restaurants joined the decibel race too: last time Vilma and I went to eat Korean food, the pants wobbling sound system prevented any form of articulate conversation between us, we spend the entire meal staring at each other silently like a couple who recently lost their child.
Yet, while social skills atrophy, a minority seems resilient to that plague, they privilege “regular” social time over social media, they carefully select crappy Java phones that can barely send and receive texts, they log in Facebook once a month, they like time on their own.
I hate how they respond to my messages with a three weeks delay, but I secretly admire how these people don’t get swallowed by the social-media diktat, how they still own their space, and time…I also love the fact that they can share that freedom with me: they will listen patiently to what I say without checking email!
Most of the meditators that I know are just like that, they pay attention to the here and now, and electronic devices can go **** themselves.
Some will call that digital illiteracy, but what if they missed the point?
Maybe the best way to develop an immune system against media saturation is to stay away from them. And enjoy someone’s company, or just plain silence.
Feature image under Common Creative Licence by JP Davidson