People Are Strange When You’re A Stranger

It’s so strange to me the way we behave. I suppose I could spend a lifetime reflecting on the multitudinous ways human people are weirdos, but there’s one thing in particular that’s been bugging me for the last few months.

Living in the part of the world that we live at the time in history that we live in, we have the opportunity to do and see almost anything. The ease of travel we enjoy now wasn’t available 100 years ago. The disposable income most of us have wasn’t available to so many people 100 years ago. Our standard of living is astronomical compared to any other point in history. Social constraints aren’t what they once were. We have the power to shape our lives and live the way we want. We have the power to see anything in any part of the world.

What do we do with this choice and this power?

We stare at screens.

My walk to work this morning featured all of the following: A middle aged guy staring at his phone while sitting at a green light, oblivious to the honking cars behind him. Two pedestrians, at different times, abruptly coming to a standstill on a busy sidewalk in order to text. A young woman driver staring at her phone as she slowly drove around a corner, nearly hitting the sidewalk. And, best of all, a mid-20s guy, staring at his phone, slowly meandering into the road, out in front of traffic that, in an un-Darwinian manner, managed to avoid him.

At work, most of us will stare at screens all day as we type away mindlessly. We’ll stare at our phone screens to ease the pain of the stop and go evening commute. At home, we’ll relax in front of a particularly large screen, one which we’ve probably showed off to our friends with pride. We’ll marvel at how connected we are to so many of our friends and family as we watch and share lives through a screen.

We have the ability to do anything we want with our lives.

We choose the screen.

Strange.

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