In Transit

Train stations, airport terminals, subway stops: soulless spaces full of distracted, stressed zombies, or magical sets for fleeting, interlocking human stories?

Grand_Central_Station_Main_Concourse_Jan_2006

I people watch daily at all the major transportation hubs in this city of 10-million plus. The stress shown on the faces of people walking to their destination with determination is sometimes eased while they walk with some form of audio ear-plug in or on their ears.

It is an amazing site to view mothers pushing children in baby carriages with the determination of a mother bear trying to get her cubs across a small creek.  It is the viewing of people walking and talking, attempting to stay within ear-shot of each other while maintaining a conversation as they weave in between people along the sidewalk.

I have seen a great change over the past thirty-five years of people watching. Most people tune into their audio ear-plugs, listening to their favorite music, audio tape, or a television show from the previous night, while tuning out of everything else around them, except for the destination.

What is amazing are the number of people who multi task while walking, carrying on a conversation, with audio ear-plug in their ears, and texting on their cellular phones. As I view these activities, I have considered purchasing a video camera, to record the number of people who continually attempt to avoid each other while multi-tasking their electronic devices and walking at the same time.

Generally, most of the people walking with their devices attached to their bodies, navigating the sidewalks, do so in an amazing fairly safe way. However, there are those who occasionally walk into a pole, into the rear of another person, or brush shoulders with another as they pass, providing the most incredible exchanged of looks between two people. Although, most times, I see an exchanged apology, followed by a smile or a frown as they continue on.

I guess as time moves along, walking along sidewalks will possibly be regulated with prescribed painted sides to walk along, with lines indicating passing areas, and of course “No electronic device use while walking”, signs will eventually be posted with the amount of the fine posted below the wording.

In a way the sight is kind of magical, as the mass of people walk along in a zombie like state, stressed with their day-to-day life, their movement is constant and it never stops. Only mother nature can slow down or even stop the constant movement and after the weather clears, the scene of movement, will take place again just as the sun rises and sets.

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