BY MELITTA ANDERMAN
When I use public transportation I get a strange sensation that I am isolated in the midst of a crowd. I seem to be the only person not doing anything, that is I am not chatting on my phone or texting. I do look at my watch or make notes in my diary for new ideas to incorporate in my writings. Life and all its intricacies has become an open book. You can disagree in public, make big business deals, vow chastity, settle terms with your divorce attorney, declare bankruptcy, make plans for a lover’s tryst, all in the open. Where has discretion gone, or does it only exist in Jane Austin novels?
People stare at the strange lady with the crazy grayish hair dressed in uber chic. What’s she doing, looking out the window in a dreamlike state. The lady in question is me and I stare right back at them. There must be a number of us out there without the obsession of being in touch with whomsoever all the time. I have an acquaintance with adult children who will jump every time the phone rings. It doesn’t matter where she is at the moment, the ring of the gadget comes first and no offspring can be kept waiting. These are not emergency SOS.
When she enters her home she immediately runs to the phone and checks messages. Does she think a Hollywood talent agent is trying to get her for a film test?
I love the restaurant scene I witnessed recently. A family of four is seated next to my table. Mom, Dad and two teenage daughters. Each person has a phone in their lap. They order and eat while eyeing their phones. I’m waiting for one of the phones to ring. Because otherwise they may have to talk to each other. What then?
I’m sitting next to a gentleman on the M15 bus heading downtown. He is reading a hard-cover book and not glancing around. I try to sneak a look at the title but no matter. A person is reading a book. What I miss most of all while riding on a public conveyance is newspapers.
People used to eagerly read about the daily news, do crossword puzzles, check out artistic review and sports activities. As well, what happened to all the list makers with their little pens or pencils (remember these handy implements?). Today these lists are programmed into a reminder or note app. All well and good, but you have to check these apps periodically because they can’t remind you so how can you remind yourself to look at the reminders?
For me it’s a bit too complicated. I will just go along with my old-fashioned note taking and datebook jottings. I know it won’t be deleted and my privacy will not end in cyberspace, or worse, end up in Twitter with an unapproved server.