Thursday, July 19, 2018

When did we become so- um, awkward?

by pennylane986 (writer), San Francisco, June 06, 2007

She walks out of Cafe 101 at San Francisco State, grips her coffee and walks swiftly to her first class in Burk Hall. Its 7:45 AM. I book for the elevator next to her, running to be on time for work in the Deans office as I see her round the corner and press the button. She catches my hurried look from the corner of her eye. Out of breath from my parking garage sprint a half mile across campus, hair already a wreck from fog and mascara most likely melting, I have arrived, and then the awful sound- "DING!" as the elevator closes nearly on my face. Thanks for holding the elevator.

Its the same at malls, in airports, in BART and MUNI trains, everyones in a rush, and no one gives a rats one way or the other about anyone, except themselves, of course.

Its mind boggling to take the M MUNI train into downtown SF. IPods on, no conversation and everyone looks like they are in some kind of funeral procession. I usually stand, for I am 20 and older, overworked and overtired people need to sit down- but many young people sit down and crank up their music, without a care.

I am not trying to come off like I am 80 and am saying "Hey- you kids should have some more respect, when I was your age, we didn't have MUNI, we walked up and down the hill, IN THE SNOW, no less, and yada yada..."

I am just wondering, whatever happened to a conversation about school, work, pop culture, politics, a controversial button on someones jacket or bookbag, a compliment on a hairstyle, a debate on some issue in the news- with someone that could bring a different viewpoint, someone you may never sit on a train or fast rail car with again. Why pass up that chance for a good laugh or food for your soul on a cold, blustery San Francisco morning?

I never do, and thats probably why I am a journalist. I find people fascinating.

Next time you are on a train, a plane or in an elevator, look up, smile, be interesting- put down your phone, for goodness sake. Don't ever underestimate the power of conversation, of helping an elderly person down the steps and onto the sidewalk, of telling a good joke or boosting someone's self-esteem by saying "Wow, cool shoes" -- and don't ever, ever underestimate the power of holding an elevator for someone. It could be that little, insignificant moment that makes someone's day that much better.

About the Writer

pennylane986 is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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