Relative Video: Louis CK’s brilliant take on why we do this:
Wednesday morning I woke up in a fairly good mood. So You Think You Can Dance was over; I was satisfied, despite the show being interrupted by President Obama’s ever so dramatic address to the nation.
I got dressed, put my headphones in my ears, my metro pass around my neck and my book under my arm.
I walked the seven minute walk to the metro. It was unusually packed. I usually love the sight of people flocking to the metro in suites heading to work. But that day it disturbed me.
I noticed a deformation. It was rows and rows of people with bent necks. Seeing it happen in such magnitude was such an eye opener.
iPod, iPhone, blackberry, book, iPad, book, book, newspaper, iPad, iPhone, laptop, newspaper, magazine, etc… and everyone had headphones on.
It was a station full of un-alive zombies. They are alive, but not really. (See what I did there? :P)
I decided, no … I will not be one of them.
I took my headphones out and breathed in the vague smell of burnt rubber. My decision reminded me of a book called.. I can’t remember the name, but the book talked about living each moment in the moment. Avoiding any distraction from the task at hand.
I thought back and realised that most of the time I had been oblivious to my surroundings, in my own world. Oblivious to the hustle and bustle of the city.
But not that day. That day, I straightened my neck, freed my ears and peeled my eyes.
The first thing I saw put a smile on my face. It was an ad for “Modern Family”. I couldn’t wait to wrap the day up and go home to watch another episode.
I then saw a soldier. I knew he was a troop because of his hat and his bag, otherwise he was dressed normally. He was standing at the top of the escalator. Frozen. A very solemn look was cemented into his features. Even one swift cursory glance in his direction would have sent a shiver down your spine. I scurried away to catch my train to work, trying to avoid bad thoughts about why he was doing that.
I saw some people posing in front of an advertisement, taking a photo. I wondered where they were from.
My train pulled up and I got on.
I saw a creepy man that would not stop staring at me despite my very obvious attempt to ward him off by flaunting my pink pepper spray wrist band.
I saw another soldier. This one was fully clothed in army attire and debarked at the Pentagon stop.
Then a thought slowly crept into mind pushing every hair on my body to its apex.
I thought about President Obama’s speech. I thought about Syria. I thought about all the anti-war and violence opinions and I thought about the involuntarily intoxicated children. I thought about that frozen soldier at the top of the escalator. I thought about chemical weapons. I thought about hope, about helplessness, about confusion.
My internal monologue was interrupted as a police officer ran past me with urgency.
I thought about an escaped prisoner, an angry terrorist and even a deranged teenager with a gun aboard the train.
I was interrupted yet again. The police man unlocked a door and stood between the two carriages on the train. He was yelling into his walkie-talkie. “I got a call about smoke on the tracks… no listen… WHERE WE ARE HEADED, THERE IS SMOKE ON THE TRACK.”
I thought about explosions, malfunctions, Final Destination, death, my family, the inevitable and taking measures.
We whizzed past the station and I stopped breathing looking around for a way to escape.
I sighed, relieved.
Then I proceeded to put my headphones in my ears, bent my neck into my book and disappeared into my blissful oblivion alongside my fellow Americans.
Here is one of those beautiful distractions. May your days be filled with skies of diamonds, dreams, trees and romance.