Thursday, July 27, 2006

Every day

Saw an interesting thought in a random spam this week...
How are u? Cope with this forever and watch other men in helpless distress.

I watch that every day, taking the train in to work. I use man in the generic sense, including women and those defining themselves other ways as well. Personally while encased in trains I like to read or contemplate, but the most popular occupation of the commuter is the cell phone conversation. I saw one woman who had taken a headwrap and secured it around her full size cellphone so it was affixed to her ear, making a kind of poor-man's bluetooth. I wonder if there might be a market for headwraps with pockets by the ears for cellphones? For those who laugh, store shelves are awash in popular products much dumber.

Despite the idea that modern life disconnects us from the world, people use tech to connect as much as possible. It may be that talking on the phone serves as the human equivalent of social grooming among our closets living relatives, the chimps. Chimps might have more sense than to allow themselves to be imprisoned for an hour a day aboard a poorly decorated metal box on their way to work for eight hours in a grey fabric cubicle.

Over time you spend many hours of your waking life with this gaggle of strangers, most of whom you don't know by name. There's the short order cook, who sleeps most of the way over to the west side, before making his way in black and white striped pants to serve food all day long, a weariness in his step before he even gets to the restaurant. A woman in front of you dresses in business attire, two kanji characters tattooed on the back of her neck, that you keep meaning but never have translated. The horse racing fan, looking much as he likely did in 1974, the vintage of his clothing style, discusses the days winnings and losing with anyone nearby.

To avoid conversations that grate your mind, you wrap yourself in prose and read during the whole trip. Is milling about with fictional characters less social, or a cry for an author in your life, directing the plot so it is not a needless series of train cars with not a memorable line of dialog to awaken the ear? The wings of literature are hard-pressed to lift you from the train sometimes, as gum snappers and unidentifiably sticky floors grind at your attention.

In seeing only the negatives, is your mood made as bad as the ones mocked for the bad taste in pants - angry plaid -, bad taste in books or simply for sharing the space in which you cannot escape?


At 1:31 PM , Blogger slickdpdx said...

Reading on the train, despite its obstacles, is preferable to driving! Also, your annoyances are more particularized and interesting than the largely faceless people that annoy you when you drive. Although it is fun to listen to music on a car stereo...


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