While Underway

Of the many things one can do while riding public transportation – people watching is both the most interesting and most perilous. It is not considered good manners to make eye contact with others; to watch what they are doing. Perhaps it is a matter of that invisible privacy shield which everyone seems to place around themselves.

Remember the Bugblatter Beast? Puts a towel over his head. He figures if he can’t see you, you can’t see him (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).

So whether it be bus, Metro, T, U-Bahn, or Tube, everyone tries to mind their own business while I am busy looking around to see what every one is doing.

That turns out to divide into three categories – reading, iPods and playing with phones. The reading part is obvious. What I found amazing was not that people were reading newspapers or paperbacks – but there were more people reading hardbacks than there were using electronic readers. Maybe it is a better educated population in Boston? Nah, most likely it is a good library system.

Then there are those who are bopping along to their own beat with ear buds and headphones able to pretty much literally tune out those of us around them. That just leaves those playing with their phones. Texting and games seemed to be the two main activities that I could see from my spot hanging on a pole partway down the middle car.

Back in the day, we managed just fine even wihtout electronic aids. Today, it helps promote isolation in the middle of people and provides yet another barrier between ourselves and those around us.

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