How is it that people purposely don’t look at the world around them….ever?
When I take the subway or walk around Toronto, I swear I am the only one looking around because everyone is too busy with their heads down on their phones, or walking in a very determined fashion, making sure to not to look at anyone around them. It’s almost like they’re afraid if they actually make eye contact with a stranger they’ll be turned to stone. Sometimes I actually enjoy this, but that’s only in specific situations like when they walk into things, or when I am pouring a bottle of wine into paper cups with a friend to go on our own walking tour. In all seriousness, I swear people have no regard for anything or anyone around them and they do so on purpose, it’s quite saddening at times. But I think what’s even more annoying is the fact that these people who are so engrossed in their immediate lives, selves and where they need to be that they literally don’t care if it causes harm or if harm has come to someone. When did being human lose its place in humanity?
I can’t even count the number of times I have been mowed down or shoved by middle aged women on the subway when they see a free seat and I am ahead of them. I don’t think I have ever come across so many women who need to sit down for a 10 min ride so badly that they push strangers out of the way – and not even gently.
Honestly though, you obviously need that seat for your lazy butt more than I do, so you’re welcome to it! But really, if you’re one of these lazy seat coveters, please stop shoving me. I don’t like falling into random people and except for some of the guys, I am sure they don’t appreciate me falling into them either.
My sister was telling me about a time she was on the bus heading to school that was absolutely packed to capacity and a man at the front of the bus just fainted and dropped. Despite there being a ton of people in the bus, my sister had to finally shove her way through people to see if the man was ok and revive him. The bus driver said and did nothing even though the man was right beside him! I hear countless stories of situations like this, and it honestly just baffles me. How can people consciously make a decision to not help someone right in front of them and yet they’re the first people to tell the world when they feel they’ve been wronged?
When I go out for a run, and there is someone going in the opposite direction of me, I always try to catch their eye and smile at them, just because I think that acknowledging people when you’re looking in their direction for an extended period makes things less awkward. They always deliberately look away! I know I don’t look very pretty during a long run but its not like I am Medusa and you’ll turn to stone by looking into my eyes!
I don’t know what is going on with people today. Are we afraid of rejection if we intentionally initiate an interaction with someone we don’t know? Are we so used to doing everything online and through technology that we forget how to actually interact on a more human physical level? Or is it just that we are all turning into sociopaths with no sense of moral responsibility of social conscious for strangers around us? I always look at it like all my friends were once strangers to me, and I have never once thought badly about someone I didn’t know striking up a conversation with me (except for inappropriate homeless men or douchey guys at a bar). Rather, I welcome it especially if I don’t know anyone, it makes things more enjoyable.
So I want to challenge each of you who read this and lets go with the pay it forward theme. Take a second to look up from your phone or the ground and smile at someone you don’t know. I think the world would be a much better place if we all put as much energy into being friendly and helping others as we do with averting our eyes and making sure we aren’t directly looking at anyone. Besides, remember how awesome it was as a kid and you could just walk up to any other kid and just start playing! No awkwardness, no fear, just fun and acceptance. Its actually amazing that kids have a much better sense of what it means to be human and genuinely care for others. Lets recapture that sense and have fun! Show come common decency and I promise you won’t turn to stone if you look at someone in the eyes and smile 🙂 you may just make their day!