Tune in or tune out?

My morning commute to work is pretty much the same every day, but today I decided to observe people behaviour instead of checking my Twitter account for updates.  I scanned the area in front of me and found many similarities and many differences.

In the distance, a well dressed man was crying and I couldn’t help but watch carefully to make sure he was okay.  Did anyone else notice this?  Probably not… because most of us “tune out”.  Tuning out is a skill I think.. some of us just stare straight ahead into nothingness and focus so hard on nothing, which makes us feel invisible I suppose. Others “plug-in” to devices to drown out the travel noise and to avoid interacting.  A small percentage of us chatter to the person we’re travelling with and the rest us either read a book, paper or engage in a phone conversation for business or personal reasons.

I also noticed a guy smiling and talking to himself, but was he talking to himself or someone who wasn’t visible to me? What was going through his mind I wondered? Was he lonely, confused, lost?  At the end of the day, my observations disturbed me because there were far more people tuning out than in.

Remember the guy I mentioned who was crying?  I wondered what happened and thought to myself, would anyone muster up enough courage to ask if he was okay?  I didn’t and It bothered me.

The point is… how many of us engage with people in a public but non-social environment?  Do we help an older person when they’re struggling to lift a suitcase into the hold section? Do we say good morning or hello to the person we’re seated next to or in front of us?  How about offering the paper you’ve just read to a stranger?  In most cases… we stare straight ahead and “tune out”.

I don’t want to tune out… I want to tune in! Tuning in is even harder to do these days.  How can we as a society learn how to do this again, after we’ve been reconditioned by technology and modern behaviours?

We share this world with one another after all… we are thinking, feeling, responsive people… Let’s try to tune into the world just for one day and see what happens.

Thanks for reading,

Nancy

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