Social Connection

This was originally posted on my Google+ profile, November 5, 2011.

Today I wonder:
We sit inside our homes, groomed to be just the way we like them. The coasters here, the hand towels folded in a particular fashion, the pantry organised in our own special way. We hide away in our homes, venturing out for groceries and planned activities. We ignore the strangers along our journeys, with a greater level of avoidance the closer we get. We sit on the train, packed like sardines at 8:15am or 5:30pm, determined not to converse with those closest to us. Why is it that we ignore their gaze, lack interest in their lives? We might meet one day in a meeting, false smile and hand ready to shake, find a new friend and organise dinner. We might bump into one another at a barbeque or salsa dancing, yet the train is a taboo place for conversation.

When I was about nine, I remember taking the dog for a walk past a group of people sitting in their driveway. The weather was not particularly spectacular. I wondered why anyone would sit there - the place where the car could run into you - practically on the side walk and wait for the afternoon to turn to evening. I turned to Dad and expressed my confusion. He told me that in some cultures it was perfectly normal to converse with passers-by and complete strangers, to join in humanity on driveways or at bus stops. I puzzled over this, wondering how that worked with stranger danger. And so we walked...

Now, many years later, I wonder why OUR culture cannot be like that. We meet new people in the safety of our online world, still ignoring them on trains. We chat on twitter or G+ or Facebook or flickr or youtube or whatever... We share and create and only when that deep connection seems found do we progress to a real-life, organised catch up.

I feel like we're missing out. Every. Single. Day.

Maybe I should go sit on my driveway.


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