Growing up, I recall New Yorkers having an uncanny ability to watch where they were going while seemingly being focused on everything else other than what was in front of them. The mad rush in the morning, the afternoon dash out the office, individuals moving about in the more tourist-centric Times Square all showcased an understanding of space and all that which was around them. The bumping came with the territory: never intentional but rather a representation of Gotham’s congestion. Along with the notion (at least in my mind) that New Yorkers didn’t know the in-between but rather the beginning and the end.
Wherever the destination one needed to be, a New Yorker more often than not, knew how to get there and everything else was nonexistent. This brings me to 2016, what has happened since my original observation many moons ago and the deterioration of subtle queues that either has left New Yorkers over the course of time or has regressed due to more people being consumed by their own devices. Full disclosure I am all for technology: the advances, the instant results, ease of use, putting the product right in the hands of the user, with minimal red tape is a fantastic thing. However the more connected we’ve become with our devices, the less engaged we have become with our surrondings. I am not some stone age thinker saying we should all go back to landline phones and Gold AOL disk with a whopping 5,000 minutes of Internet. However, there needs to be a better balance in not only our consumption of the electronics we use but how it impacts our ability to adapt to that which is around us.
Hey maybe homegrown New Yorkers are disappearing, and it’s an influx of tourist and migrants from other countries/states not knowing the gist of how to move around.
I’m sure that our consistent lack of awareness comes from a mixture of the two possibilities that was previously stated and many other reasons as well. Truthfully this goes beyond a tourist or anyone from other countries moving to NY. This is about people in all boroughs and space recognition, in my opinion, is at an all-time low. While intrusiveness is seemingly becoming higher each year (only my observation zero statistics to back this up so just stop reading now). To glance at one’s screen is normal, to stay stuck in what that person is doing rather than what you were previously engaged in is rather frustrating. Maybe my first mistake was taking public transit to places and walking the streets of New York and other countries, instead of just using über for everything. You would think if someone is walking in your direction there would be this intuitive notion that the other person would position themselves out of the pathway of the individual. It should be common that when a group of people walking together and you can visibly see the individual from a distance coming in your direction, you would create a space for that person to pass, not stay grouped together for the individual to figure out how they are going to get by the group. Typically walking in the street or straddling the curb just to make way.
Am I grumbling right now? Possibly, but taking public transportation or walking about, just like speaking with youth or people not within your usual circle gives you an ear to how society continues to evolve or devolve. Finding out what is trending, where the masses minds are at and an outlook on what is important in the current climate we reside in as a populous. Something as simple as space recognition, common courtesy, and intrusiveness are behavioral which if left untreated may become unrecognizable.
Thus the question becomes ok well if it is that dire then what your solution is? Simple, look up and open your eyes, there’s the world out there, waiting for you. Smile not needed just remember you are not the only one walking the planet no matter what the “gram” says. You are not the only person who is tired no matter what your tweet says. You are not the only one who is in a hurry to get somewhere no matter what your device tells you. Observe that when various announcements have to be made on how to act in public areas something is wrong. When pamphlets are handed out on what is deemed proper behavior and what is bad behavior we are as a collective regressing.
Clearly, it’s more convoluted than a simple look up once and awhile. Frankly, there are plenty of variables in place as to why we do what we do, but it strikes me as odd that when I observe how people walk in the streets, they move from left to right lacking balance and what’s the word, folks?: Space-recognition yay! Which leads me to wonder do we need books on our heads to balance again or is everyone just overworked? Maybe we are all wearing uncomfortable shoes? Maybe I’m the fool for walking with balance and consciousness of others around me. Being aloof is trending, and I’m still on dial-up. It’s confusing and rather disheartening that the little things are seemingly becoming unnoticeable big things over time. Then again who knows maybe I’m just making stuff up, and it’s all in my head. Go evolution!