Monday through Friday, I commute from my home in New Jersey to work in lower Manhattan. I travel with my iPad, usually using the Kindle app to read. OK, sometimes, as a change of pace, I work on a 550 piece jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes, I people watch. On a crowded subway, people watching can be a challenge, as you do not want to seem like that creepy person caught staring at somebody else. I began to notice that a significant amount of people have headphones on. As I walked from the “E” train to my office, there were many people wearing their headphones, or walking and texting. As I walked through the office, I noticed a significant amount of people sitting, working and still with the headphones on. I am not even sure if I have a pair of headphones!
People today, and primarily Millennials, seem to always want to be “connected.” I do not mean like the people between the millennial generation and the baby boomers where connected means using your PC, laptop or iPad to remain connected with the world at large. This group lives on their phones and portable devices. My own kids, which fall on the Millennial / Generation Z cusp (yes, I am using an astrology term) are the same – iPhone in hand, iPod in the ready and the laptop in tow.
I must confess – many years ago, I tried listening to music while walking from the Port Authority to the office when we were in mid-town. All other sounds were blocked out. I did this twice and came to the conclusion that I felt uncomfortable not hearing the “normal” sounds that surrounded me. I like hearing the ambient sounds, I like knowing what is going on around me and I like hearing what is going on in the office. Call me old fashioned, but I still like being connected to the world I am navigating through with all my senses taking in the scenery around me. The challenge to you, dear reader, is to unplug yourself, put down the device, smell the roses and enjoy the world around us.