Posted on April 14, 2014
I briefly considered writing a deep, soul-searching post about my impending graduation, but then I thought, “Nah.” All I will say about the matter is: I picked up my cap and gown a few days ago, and I can’t really process that fact. The cap and gown are still wrapped up in fancy plastic, delegated to their original Barnes & Noble bookstore bag…which will be their permanent home until the end of May.
The other day, when I was walking down Main Street with the emotional aforementioned bag, I was also balancing my fairly large laptop bag over my shoulder and a Starbucks latte in the other hand. As I was juggling these three objects, I felt strangely out-of-whack. Suddenly I realized what made me feel off-kilter: I wasn’t talking on the phone.
Usually, when trekking from my apartment on the far end of Main Street to class or elsewhere, I call either (a) my mom, (b) my dad, (c) my sister/best friend, (d) another friend, or, occasionally, (e) my grandparents, which is amusing because my grandparents don’t always understand phones. Sample: my grandparents left me a voicemail one time that went a little something like this:
Nana (F.Y.I. I call my grandma ‘Nana’ and my grandpa ‘Papa’): Ed, you have to turn right!
Papa: Lee, I know where I’m going!
Nana: No, you should have turned back there!
Papa: I’m following the GPS! The GPS said left!!
Clearly, they didn’t realize that they were leaving me a three-minute voicemail about traffic directions…but that’s what happened. I called them to clarify in case they wanted to talk about something important, but they had no idea that they called me at all, much less left a voicemail. They’re the best.
Since I had no free hand to hold my iPhone last Thursday, I was reduced to people watching. I guess I enjoy talking on the phone on my various 15-20 minute walks throughout the day to feel like I’m accomplishing something during that “wasted” time. I very rarely run into someone who’s heading in the same direction that I am (as opposed to a passing “Hi, how are you?”), but when that happens, it’s a welcome change. Otherwise, I’m not going to lie, I get bored. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate having time alone to think. But, with several walks throughout the day, sometimes I reach the point where I simply need to do something else.
Anyway, in my impromptu social experiment, I gazed around, confused about what other people typically do while traversing the great distance from Main Street to class (and back). I discovered the following:
(1) A significant number of people listen to music – or at least pretend to listen to music – based on the overwhelming presence of headphones.
(2) Some people walk without any sort of technological distraction, and these people tend to walk in a hurried fashion. I even noticed one guy in a suit, clutching a briefcase, and he was on a mission.
(3) Some people do talk on the phone. There were, however, less people on the phone than I thought – at least during this particular Thursday afternoon.
So, readers, since I’m curious – and would rather think about the subject of distracted vs. focused walking as opposed to other matters (i.e. the future) – what do you do while you walk around campus?
Note: Sadly, I don’t have any pictures that I’ve taken while walking around campus to add to this post…which is probably due to the fact that I’m usually on the phone (*shrugs coyly*). Instead, I’ll close with a picture from Monty Python’s ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ sketch.