Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Campus Observations

I wrote these short observations while waiting for my next class to start, sitting in the common area on campus.  It struck me how alone all of these people were, even while they were in the same room with each other.

I sit at a table in the common area of the campus building, watching my college classmates as they adhere to their scholastic schedule.  Candy wrappers crinkle as the elevator door opened to admit the one lone rider who throws his empty candy wrapper in the trash can between the two elevators before entering the small roving room.  The electronic eye, that made sure no one was between the doors before they closed and allowed the elevator to make its assent to the upper floors, failed to see the two other people scurrying to catch the vertical taxi cab, and they merely ended up exhaling a sigh of exasperation as one of them hit the call button three times, as if that would get the elevator back even faster.
A young lady walks down the hamster tunnel connecting the two buildings on campus, hitting the large blue button labeled with a stick-figure in a stick-wheelchair so she wouldn’t have to open the door herself.  Her light touch failed to engage the opener’s mechanism but she just stood there for a couple of seconds before she took the two steps back to hit it again, not thinking if she had just gone ahead and pushed the door open manually she would have been well on her way by now.
The tall kid with blonde hair walks by with his head down and his fingers busy on his phone, too heavily engaged in his own electronic conversation to notice he was walking past a young lady at the center table heavily engaged in the same intense activity, both of them alone and surrounded by a sea of invisible friends through their electronic connection to a social life.

The dozen or so computers are all in use, each person focused on their screen, oblivious to any activity around them.  It is so quiet.  There are no conversations, no questions going back and forth, no joking, no banter.  Small white wires can be seen hanging out of the ears of some of the computer users and walker-by’s, locked into their own silent world of sound, closing out any of the outside sounds around them, not really aware of the sounds of life they are missing.

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