I have mentioned this before on the blog, but when I am on the L, it is easy for me to find something which strikes up a conversation with a passenger. (I had a similar post in July.) In this case, it was inspired by an ad that I saw on the train, and the content makes the story even more compelling.
Recently, when I have taken the train, I have noticed some of the ads more–just for visual stimuli. One of them really stood out to me, given below:
When I saw it, I took a picture of it (duh… now it’s almost a meta-blog since the picture is above :p). I was standing in somewhat of an awkward position to try to take a picture of it, and then sat down in the seat next to the wall that makes the doorway.
I mentioned aloud (maybe not exactly in these words), “It’s amazing how technology and social media almost seem antisocial.” The person across the aisle laughed, and it indeed sparked a conversation about communication and socializing in today’s society. It didn’t seem like much of a risk at all, but some say that talking to strangers is risky and intimidating to people in general.
Well, it turns out that she is a graduate student at UConn in the communication department! The conversations ranged from conferences and sightseeing, to time zone changes and my Asperger syndrome.
The irony in this conversation is that the poster that I took a picture of was one that discouraged talking with people, yet it was a conversation starter for me! In general, I wonder about social media and connections. This provides yet another example of the hypothesis that the more connected we seem to be, the less connected we actually are.
For me, at least, some of my favorite times to sit down and have conversations are over a meal or dessert or tea. This is why I enjoy Friday nights at Hillel so much. It’s also what I miss most about being away from family, since I can’t count on having a guaranteed social contact together with my meals. This may be partially my own passivity, or my high school experiences with lunch.
I ate in the main office at lunch in high school, not because I was in trouble with anyone, but rather because I chose to eat lunch with the secretaries and staff that would go by, instead of the students. As I have mentioned many times before, when I was in middle and high school, most of my “friends” were the teachers and staff, rather than my peers. It got better toward the end of high school, when I became more sociable with my peers due to my attendance of sporting events.
Now it seems like I am just rambling. Suffice it to say: the point of my post was to rail against the punch line of the ad. Even if eating is a necessary survivalist action, I feel that since we (humans) are hard-wired for social connection, methods of bypassing it may not help us in the long run.
Today is the three-hundred and twenty-eighth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes forty-six weeks and six days.