When alone in a metro (or in any other similar place from bus to airplane), people change their behaviour from everyday communicating.
These mobile times, the most common act is probably to chat with one’s very own smartphone. This way we avoid all the possible interacting with strangers.
The behaviour differs also between the cultures a bit, but even more because of multiple other factors, such as the size of the city. The bigger the city is, the more people seem to prefer to talk with their phones, read a book, sleep or pretend to do so, or work on any possible thing to distance them from any interaction.
There might good explanations for that, for example it is true that in metropolies we pass by so many people, it impossible to have contact with everybody. Also, one needs a moment for him/herself at times, even in our minds surrounded by all that mass of human beings.
Prejudies and judgement effect strongly sometimes on top of all other. When one senses another, possibly unknown culture from the person getting closer, it is typical to try to look that one is not available for the stranger. Ignorance can be the case but also media is very good in manipulating everyone’s behaviour towards little racist acts.
On the other hand, working on something during a trip does not always automatically mean that we don’t want to interact with the person next to us or that we are scared of them. Someone takes the trip as an extra time to work, someone wants to relax with their music and someone might be just very excited to work on something at the moment… as I am now – writing about this subject with my phone.
A metro stop written with different alphabets
When there’s communicating that differs from the main behaviour in certain situations, appears a shock.
Once in one of these metro lines of Paris, an older, clearly homeless man came to sit next to me. Baring sights surrounded me. But my own reaction was different, I had a smile on my face because I received a very friendly ‘Bonjour’ from this man. I said ‘bonjour’ back. Already at this point, I could feel the eyes around staring at this unusual situation.
All the way to my destination stop, we talked. Mainly he was telling about his life as a musician. There was a moment that he got moved by a memory, and allowed few drops fall from his big dark eyes. I have to say it has been one of the most beautiful moments I have experienced in any metro. It would have never happened if instead of him I would have focused on my electronic device.
Let’s do what we need to, but stop the pointless Facebook scrolling. Look around… yes there is the life!
PS. Now I turn this device off and focus on the beautiful persons around me.