Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Note on Sociality

At the airport I noticed an older gentleman who was sitting next to me who looked like he wanted to ask me something.
I was too preoccupied with what I was reading/writing, however. But something told me to go ahead and make eye contact.
I take great pleasure out of those moments in time when I get to quietly do my own thing and controlling the outer noise with my kind of micromanaged noise, my playlists, is something I take active interest in.

However, I decide to make eye contact with the older gentleman. As suspected, he was just in need of exchanging some general remarks about the weather, the immediate culture of the places we both live in, and the like.

I then did the unthinkable.
I turned off all of my gadgets and sat quietly for a few minutes. I thought it kind to get rid of my pronounced ignoring of all that was around me.

Perhaps a lack of apparent detachment is the best gift one give other, passing strangers. A little bit of silent human warmth goes a long way. And it does not need be verbal. A simple gesture of I-won't-be-turning-my-iPod-back-on-so-in-case-you'd-like-to-talk-more-about-nothing-of-significance-and/or-relevance can mean much to some.

And the caring of a perfect stranger might perhaps feel as relevant as that of the familiar/familial.

Maybe not.

Be that as it may, one of the few times it's ok to disconnect is silence-related. Not just purposeless silence but rather the kind that is informed by quiet caring.




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10 comments:

Becca said...

"And the caring of a perfect stranger might perhaps feel as relevant as that of the familiar/familial."
I like that.
Thought along those lines just recently....

Sra said...

Sometimes I feel like we're too connect to really connect with others anymore. But ofttimes I don't enjoy connecting with strangers. Maybe I just have a bad attitude. I think what you did was nice.

JJ said...

When I watch old movies I can't help but wonder how much we have shifted from pleasantries and little linguistic exchanges.
Simply being seen is enough for most of us.

tina said...

"A sea of white earphone carriers," I believe was you once put it on a radio program, right?

tina said...

"A sea of white earphone carriers," I believe was you once put it on a radio program, right?

Anonymous said...

"I take great pleasure out of those moments in time when I get to quietly do my own thing and controlling the outer noise with my kind of micromanaged noise, my playlists, is something I take active interest in."

Prepositionally rich, but I concur.

~M

sp said...

i miss being able to go out and actually have a conversation with a perfect stranger. what used to be completely normal and commonplace 10-15 yrs ago is now considered strange. goes to show how utterly detached we are from each other and even from ourselves to a certain extent, i think.

aflo said...

I try to make it a point spark conversation with someone I don't know every day. There is just so much one can learn from people... I simply cannot pass that opportunity. Just can't.

Nicki said...

Much like you, I get annoyed by people who have to interrupt you from whatever you're doing. Travel is different, however. I liked this.
It's really annoying if it's done in normal quotidianity and this experience works precisely because it was out of one's normal element.
Right?

Anonymous said...

I get your point. Occasional acknowledgment of strangers, when traveling, shows a caring side of humanity that many explore. But as you intimate here, all in good measure.