Driving to work this morning, I get to the last light in the string that makes up my morning commute. Getting ready to turn left, I can’t help but look at the same girl I see every morning, waiting at the bus stop. She has bright blonde/ white hair, and wears a coat with leopard print. Bright read lipstick, she’s about 5′ 7″. Today, she has a boyfriend with her. He has a green mow hawk and wears a jean jacket, they are both smoking. It’s early so it’s kind of cold, which emphasizes the smoke coming from there ex hales. He leans against the wall and places the bottom of his foot on it. The two are looking at each other, smiling and talking, when all of the sudden, each one pulls out their phone and from my perspective, there is now a complete loss of all activity. There is complete silence and stillness as they both stare at their phones scrolling with a thumb and her with her index. I turned left and went down the road to work, thinking about this situation and how it relates to my current interests in UX design and a persons disturbability.
It really was a moment when I wished I had not only had the time to take a picture, but had been able to record the whole situation. It seemed like a perfect black and white difference in communication between two people who in one moment had feelings for each other and in the next, were completely turned off physically from here and now. There was such a difference just in the space they were occupying on the street from when they were interacting to when they become virtually on and physically off. (for more on that, read here) It just seemed like in an instant the two went from being with each other, to being any two people who may not even know one another. Driving up to the light prior to the phones being out, they seem happy together, they were connected. Where seeing the two now, even facing each other as they were, they could have been perfect strangers.
In an age where we do aniticipate on getting our news from social networking in the morning, and we have become so reliant on knowing what’s going on now, and getting that info now, there becomes less room, less time for here, (disturbability). In this moment with the girl and the guy, it’s not the two of them waiting for the bus together. There was a very distinct moment when it became the two of them, and millions of others, not waiting for the bus, but on virtually, connecting for that interval of time. Though she was waiting for the bus, her friend on the other end of Facebook was eating breakfast. Yet they were both present together, but virtually, not here. Two people can be physically on in two diffident places at one moment, then instantly physically off due to the fact that they are now virtually on, together. They are both here now, but in two different places. As for the girls boyfriend taking part in the same situation two feet away, the relationship between the two of them is no longer as important to this very moment when all of this connecting is happening. Physically, they aren’t present anymore, yet only for a moment until they look up and re-connect with each other. In a relationship between two people like these, it is no longer you and I, him and her. It’s you and I and all of these other people, when we decide to turn them on.