My commute runs along the Hudson River.
I stand on the platform every morning and look at the birds, the boats, the river, the opposite shore.
I look at my fellow commuters and they are all looking down. At their phones.
I have made a commitment to myself that I will not look at my phone, except to check the time, when I am waiting for a train. It’s part of self-discipline. I am adamant about the fact that you need not scratch every itch and a healthy life knows how to delay gratification and knows how to avoid mindlessness. I’m chronically committed to not being one of the bozos who are always staring at a phone while a big, interesting world swirls around them. Life is short, the world is huge and you’re fooling yourself if you think that staring at a phone is a way to go through life.
Last week I watched, on a blustery morning, as a bird that was a bit bigger than a duck and smaller than a hawk flying around over the Hudson River. He would flap his wings a few times and then a wind gust would come and the bird would float along, not flapping, backwards, on the wind. It was so funny. He would go “flap flap flap” a gust and he’d hang glide…as the wind would die down he’d go “flap flap flap” again. And so it went. He was having the BEST time.
I almost laughed out loud. My fellow commuters (about 20 or 30 of them) all missed it. They were all looking down. At their phones. It didn’t matter how old they were or what gender they were…they were all doing it. They looked like an army of zombies, walking down the platform looking at their phones.
And I would bet hundreds of dollars that none of them was looking at anything as entertaining as that bird. All they had to do was look up…for a few minutes…and it would have changed their entire view of the day.
I stepped onto the train in a good mood because of that bird. I have no idea what my fellow commuters were doing, but they missed a prime moment.
Today it was so blustery, windy, and rainy. It’s always hard to navigate the streets of Manhattan with umbrellas, but it becomes especially difficult when people are walking with umbrellas while looking at their phones. Not only are they stupid, but now they’re dangerous.
I stepped around the dangerous idiots and into the street. As I moved to the crosswalk, a car drove by and there was a small dog with his head out the window, catching raindrops on his tongue. He, too, was a joyful being. Just having the best time with those raindrops.
I almost laughed out loud again. I turned to look at the other pedestrians and, guess what? Looking at their phones while waiting for the light to change…they missed that comical little dog.
I laughed on a horribly rainy, grey, gloomy Monday morning. Thanks to that dog. It was so funny.
Everyone was in a terrible mood because of the weather, because it was Monday, because it was rainy. But I found a way to enjoy it. Because I wasn’t staring into a little black box while the world spun around me.
Not every unplugged moment is interesting…but every interesting moment seems to be of the unplugged nature.