I give up.
Where is the sociability? As I sit here looking out the vast window of my local java joint, I’m feeling like a social animal. I look around, and it occurs to me that all of us here found our way to our local coffee house to meet up with a little bit of humanity rather than burrow in our homes blissfully steeped in isolation.
So what’s wrong with this picture? I’m surrounded by at least twenty peeps, my peers, all of whom are deeply involved with their lap tops, tablets or phones and no one is interacting with anyone…for hours?
For the love of God, why doesn’t anyone look up from their computer, throw a smile across the room, give a nod and share a little banter? How are the kids? What’s going on with your crazy boss? How was the movie? Did your wife leave you? Are you lonely? What about this global warming thing and what’s your take on the security issue for our Olympians in Sochi?
I teach and lecture the benefits of social media, and they are many. Reaching out on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google + has done wonders for my business. I’ve made some pretty fabulous friendships on the web and value them all immensely. It’s no lie that I’ve built my business on the back of social media and I’d be dead in the water without it. But I have to wonder: is it possible that social media is robbing us of our sociability?
A writer’s life is, at times, isolating. Every once in a while when I run into a writing block, I head out to my local java joint and gain a little perspective.
Clearly I am overly social, striking up conversations in elevators, restaurants, grocery stores and banks. I don’t make an effort to do it, it just comes naturally. I compliment people, play with dogs, talk to babies, comment on the weather, all to people I’ve never met before and will probably never see again. It suits my comfort level, and always brings a smile to my day. It feels like civility, a tiny but important piece of humanity … to share a kindness or conversation with others.
Not much sharing goes on these days between strangers. I’m not at all sure that we are the better for it. People walk the streets looking at their phones, rarely watching where they are going, or listening to something far more important that life with their ear buds.
Looking across the large room of coffee house dwellers, I can’t help but notice how average, normal and social we all look.
As I sit here in the mecca of sociability, the hub of activity, I’m getting the creepy feeling that we are all far from it.
Maybe next time I’ll just stay home with the dog and the cat. They never cease to make me feel like I’m worth their time.
It seems that when we are searching for a touch of civility and humanity, it can be more easily found in the animal kingdom.
Something to think about.