I scurried past the busy morning subway crowd armed with my book in hand and orange strapped flip flops firmly planted on my feet. Its summer time and I refuse to live any other way, something about feeling the earth beneath my feet gives me a sense of organic joy. I quickly made my way to a seat and excitedly opened my novel, there is a quaint happiness holding a physical book with pages to turn versus a swipe across an electronic device that placed a smile upon my face. As I looked up I noticed the majority of individuals were occupied as well, although they had head phones on listening to music, zoning out to the world around them. I immediately felt some relation to the escape they were trying to achieve however I thought back to a time in which this was never an option. Wondering what the early 1920’s trains looked like? With ladies and gentlemen zoning out to the daily newspapers – times are changing.
People don’t talk to each other anymore, it’s a sad sight. Perhaps it’s my friendly Trinidadian nature to speak to people as though I’ve known them for years but truly, it’s interesting how guarded people can be even at a friendly ‘hello’. As a society we’ve created distance, personal space and walls. Mind you I understand all of it, I myself have a limit but it perplexes me the length to which distance and avoidance is warranted. I reflected back to my recent trip to Trinidad, how strangers I never knew would ask if I was okay if they saw me standing by myself on the street or sitting at London’s Heathrow Airport when a stranger asked if I needed help in figuring out directions (if you’ve been to Heathrow Airport you’ll know how confusing it can be if you’re not use to it) – it’s those moments that renew my belief in the human spirit.
As much as I wanted to read my novel, my thoughts engulfed my mind – when you dull moments even on the subway, what do you remember? Will you remember the sound of the train on the tracks? Or the colour and seat arrangements of the subway cart? Or the plethora of individuals sitting, standing or zoning out beside you? Even the simplest parts of being AWARE of your surroundings means you’re actively participating within the culture of YOUR time. Do you truly enjoy every moment in your life? Life is so precious, it’s always worth being acutely aware.
I’ve always said to those in conversation, being an Anthropologist is both a blessing and a curse, it means I can observe with a fierce focus and it is a skill that comes in handy from time to time. Seeing everything, being the observer means I live my life in awareness but need to mask it at times. It’s a helpful, time saving tool but it means I can read faces so very well that it makes me more sad than happy if I’m being honest. There is some truth to the saying, “ignorance is bliss”. Perhaps it’s a crazy notion, but I search for like minded souls like myself. The one’s who can dissect ‘The Matrix’, live in the present and can view the world from all their senses. Are you one of those people?