Tuesday, November 6, 2007

It's not polite to stare. But it happens.

As I was reading Catherine's blog about watching people I began to think of common situations when I find myself people watching.

Transportation.

Whether you're sitting amongst sleepy co-eds heading to class on a campus bus or seated shotgun on a long road trip, nothing passes the time faster than examining the strangers you come across.

The interaction on buses, metros, elevators, or anything that forces people to be close yet remain quietly individual spawns such interesting behavior.

Everything that ordinarily wouldn't mean anything suddenly speaks volumes. Someone's outfit screams their personality. A smile could mean interest. A seat selection could be strategic.

But, wait.

That person probably didn't think twice before putting those shoes on. That smile was actually a reaction to a funny podcast. I don't consciously want to sit next to you, but there's no where else to sit.

Being in a highly visually-stimulating environment, limited to your inner thoughts, tends to make typical thoughts more processed. Images are more thought about, things more exaggerated.

Not only riders more perceptive, but unique relationships are formed.

Only these 30 some people are riding this bus at this moment. If we were to get into an accident, we'd help each other. If something funny were to happen, we'd probably all laugh. We might even look to our neighbor and acknowledge the humor of the moment together. You don't know anyone, but for whatever reason, being reserved to this moving living room of a bus, you share a connection, a common experience.

It only lasts 10 minutes. And once the end spot is approached, the brakes engaged and doors opened, we all get up from our seats, gather our belongings and shuffle off the bus, and off to our destinations.

Unlike other relationships, this is one that I don't miss. I'm not sad to leave the people I shared my ride to class with. It's just the way it goes. The only thing I'll probably miss is that cute boy or the really cool combination of colors that girl wore in her outfit -- the group I ride home with might not be as interesting.

3 comments:

yofred said...

your bus ride is an imagined community.

i love paige, dearly.

catherinethegreat said...

I feel that you understand me. our children are going to be sooo perceptive.

We are who we thought we were said...
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