Friday, March 28, 2008

Hiding

People hide. It’s funny but they tend to hide in crowds. I’m sitting in a coffee shop where only a couple people converse while the rest hide behind their computer screens and newspapers. We congregate to hide. We are a herd mentality that espouses individuality and solitude. We rush about in large groups often at cross purposes to get that bit of the currently popular unique experience for ourselves.

We don’t make eye contact, either. We talk to each other while we look over the other's shoulder or out the window. Yet, somehow this seems to work. The art of conversation is now more of a visual transmission in emails and text messaging. The most obvious example of this is my personal working environment.

Part one of my day is upstairs with men and women in my age group. We came of age with print newspapers and hand written letters. We talk to each other – usually with a punch line and a shared laugh. It is light and easy even when one of us is being catty or downright grumpy. We understand each other.

Part two of my day is downstairs with younger people who do nothing more than emails, Blackberries, webinars, and meetings over a conference phone. Even while they are in face-to-face meetings, they are all surreptitiously looking at their Blackberries while their laptops are open in front of them. They seem uncomfortable with my laughter and jokes.

Where this is leading, I haven’t a clue. I’ve noticed how I start at one end of a topic and by the end of the post I’ve taken a side road and end up in a parking lot without anything more to say. That’s me. I wander in mind and spirit.