It's All Goodnow……

How I Have Missed the Subway

When I first started this blog many moons ago it was aimed toward commenting on life in NYC and some of the things that were going on in my life in my late 20’s.  Sometimes it was funny.  Sometimes I was venting.  Sometimes it was because it felt right to write.  Today’s post comes from a guy in his mid-30’s who can’t figure people out…

I’m on my way home the other night.  It was probably 7:30 PM and I was on a subway platform that wasn’t crowded but certainly wasn’t empty.  I have my headphones in listening to the latest Bill Simmons podcast and I’m just another guy, waiting for another train on a rainy May evening.  Next to me there was a woman who was probably in the exact same mindset as me.  Waiting for the train. Headphones in.

I was standing toward the end of the platform because the front and back of trains are least crowded and typically have less tourists on them.  So that means I was about 20 feet from the end of the platform.  The end of this platform was particularly dark.  On subway platforms you are looking down the tunnel to see if the train is coming, but the woman next to me started peering down the tunnel looking at something.  I turned my head to see liquid streaming from the dark end of the platform.  She and I looked at one another and then we both saw it.  A human being was causing this cascade of liquid.  It was a woman.  Suddenly a few tissues are being thrown onto the tracks like confetti in a parade.  She finishes causing subway Niagara Falls  and walks out from the shadows.

I have seen plenty of crazy things.  The fact that a person urinated on the subway platform is hardly a story of note.  It was that she was dressed like she just left a boardroom meeting and had a Louis Vitton (I’m 1000% ok if I spelled that wrong.  I’m not even going to look it up) bag that really caught my attention.  This is a person who came from a place in polite society where urinating in public and then throwing person hygiene items on subway tracks isn’t an accepted practice.  And it isn’t like there wasn’t a Starbucks around the corner. Or a bar.  Or a restaurant.

Mind you – maybe she was the best dressed homeless person in NYC.  Maybe she had a real life emergency and couldn’t wait.  Maybe she had mental health stuff happening.  I’m all about giving someone the benefit of the doubt, but this looked like a confident, well composed person who did not seem to care that other people would have to clean up after her and/or stand in her mess.

What is it about subways that brings out the worst in people?  I get it, it is crowded, the trains are constantly delayed, and people can be rude – but if we are going to starting using them as a toilet at 7:30 PM because we can’t be bothered to use a restroom with a sink (I hope she got a seat on her next train and didn’t grab onto the communal pole) then those stations are going to continue to be gross and continue to smell of what was once that’s woman’s Fiji water.

Take a Minute to Think

 

There sure is a lot going on in the world.  I haven’t written much about it.  I feel like just about anything that is written these days needs to be done within 3 minutes of an event occurring or it is irrelevant.

Maybe that’s a problem.  Maybe we aren’t taking the time to digest news and what is happening around us.  Maybe the people reporting news aren’t getting it right because they need to deliver it first.

Remember when we digested news in three main forms.  The nightly news, both local and national.  Newspapers.  Magazines (As a kid I would devour the Sports Illustrated issues that were delivered each week.  It was like a treat when I got home from school on a Wednesday.  Now I couldn’t imagine waiting for a magazine to arrive.)  But I suppose what I am saying here is that our information was distributed on a timeline.  I’m not saying that is the perfect method for information distribution, but I also wasn’t refreshing my Twitter feed every 22 seconds because I’m nervous about what the POTUS may tweet out in regards to foreign policy.  I’m not saying I do that, but there are now people whose job it is to do that and to comment on it immediately without the value of taking time to digest the content in front of them.

How many times have you seen a tweet or FB post or IG picture and thought – that’s just wrong.  Either factually or morally.   And wanted to challenge it or comment on it or argue about it.  That’s because social media is a reactionary form of communication.  It is meant to connect, but in doing so it gives a platform for us to both offend and be offended so very easily.  There is no real inflection when it comes to social media.  Sure you can use an emoji, but that doesn’t do the same thing as being able to change the tone of your voice or calmly relay a controversial opinion to a person.  That’s the other portion of social media – while there are plenty of news sources out there that are dependable – the majority of social media is opinion based.  And we all have them.  And the beauty of social media is that it connects people from all over the world and all over the country.  Guess what, your buddy’s uncle from (insert a different part of the country from where you live) who you met at his wedding three years ago who friend-ed you on FB is going to have a different opinion on things.  And he will post it on FB.  And when you have gotten home after an extended happy hour you may read some of the super left or right-wing things that he may say.  And you will want to disagree and suddenly there is a twenty line argument from 2,000 miles away that will do three things:

  1. Waste your time
  2. Get you upset for no reason whatsoever
  3. Change absolutely nothing

I have seen so many of these in my feeds and everyone wants to win an argument that can’t be won.  We have stopped trying to learn how to work with one another at the sake of being right.  For the sake of protecting our arguments and ideas that in some cases – could be flawed.

All of these FB ads about how great FB once was and how it connected us and then its downfall and its rebirth to being a better company.  THat’s great.  I applaud the improvements they strive to make, but what they can’t undo is the reactionary state they have built for us.  The can’t undo the immediacy.  The need to be connected at all times.  The concept of FOMO (fear of missing out for those reading who may be over the age of 28) is built around seeing what your friends are doing on social media and wanting to be part of it.

Mostly I am writing this because I am reflecting on why I have certain social mediums (on a personal level – not for work.  These two are vastly different).  News.  Keeping up with friends.  But do I need the immediacy of it?  Sometimes yes.  Sometimes no.  Do I need to see every picture of a college acquaintance’s week leading up to her wedding?  Probably not.  Every baby picture?  I have learned of a few deaths via FB, but I would like to think that if it were someone with whom I was particularly close I would find out via a different source.

I am reading over this post and realizing it was a fun ramble that went to learning about death via FB.  Woof.  Maybe I need to get some more Vitamin D….

My ending point is this – I’m not sure where tech will take us next, but for all of our collective good I hope it moves us away from being drones to media platforms and instead being masters of it.  Instead of reacting to every bit of information we agree with or disagree with we put our energies into fixing the root causes of the content.  And I hope we can do it in a way that happens to be civil.