Sidewalk Ghosts / Interview 397: Why Should People Do This?

“It’s good for all to find common ground, and when you are put on the spot like this, you really tell the truth about how you feel about what’s going on; and you can only go forward when you get a bunch of great ideas together…” —Tasha


“I’ve got to get my head in the right place,” rings in my head as I am writing this entry. Yesterday Lucy gave us advice on responsible use of technology. I agree with her. Yet, as a tool in bringing us together, it is equally as relevant. This age of worldwide web has allowed us an instant connectivity live never before.

Through it, it is almost uncomfortable to think about how easy it is to connect when comparing it to that of engaged face to face. I guess it is easier to commune within the seemingly safe walls of electronic distance. A place where we are free from physical attack or hard to escape exchange. A place where one quick mouse, or button-click, terminates just about any dialogue or uncomfortable situation. Although with this protective barrier we are at risk of paying a price that is possibly worse than the risk of engaging in good old face to face.

I know there is many a time where we are afraid or intimidated to reach out to the physical beings that are walking flesh and blood. After all we all have that sense of self-protection and do deserve our privacy. So we default to the mind connect (or is it?) of digital bliss. Reject me or accept me, it matters not. For If I find myself in strange places, or hearing words that I don’t understand, a new connection or found similarities are only a message, or comment away.

Now don’t get me wrong, as I regularly state, our modern methods of communication and its aligned information stream are a fantastic thing. But as yesterday’s friend, Lucy, has called out, only if used wisely.

Why this preemptive reasoning in introducing today’s episode and friends? Call it a comparison. For today has not been an easy one in talking to strangers. I’ve learned over time that there are days when it seems that the world is conspiring against me, and today is such a day. It’s late, and with 3 hours of rejection after rejection behind me, I default to one of my halls of comfort to lick my wounds… Starbucks, corner of Fallbrook and Victory. A place where I have had many a friendly conversation with that guy, or gal, at the table next to me.

Yes, I am that annoying man who is always saying “good day” and trying to talk to you. Most of the time it is an engaging experience. While I do admit, some throw those piercing “stay the hell away from me!” eye glares; something that I have learned to appreciate in a bizarre way. After all, we all deserve our private time, and must respect the reactions put upon us via the cultures we live in.

The reality is pretty straight forward, there is no way we can have an idea of what is going on in the mind of our unknown neighbors. The only thing we do have control over is our own thoughts and actions. That is the free agency we all have right to. That right to be left alone is an inalienable one that we all have claim to.

But here is the thing, how do we choose to express ourselves? Is it in the many a time falsified world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the plethora of vicarious devices that are readily at our keystroke? Or, is it through taking the risk of good old face-to-face dialogue?

There is no black and white, right or wrong, answer to this question. Only a nagging examination of our own hearts, lifestyle and even the content we choose to contribute that can truly govern our answer… and more profoundly, our actions.

My camp? I’m all for the new tech, but with one distinctive amendment, “It must be used as an augmentation to humanly connected interactions.” For to get lost in the maze of online tunnels of relationships, and information, is par with a socialized form of solitary confinement.

Yes, I’ve been heavily rejected this evening, and do not bring to you an experience of meeting, or hearing the council of a complete stranger. I’m bowing to the acceptance of this is OK. Because at least I had a chance to feel of the emotions experienced by not being accepted through this night.

However there is a silver lining to this experience, one that is pulling at my intellectual self (even as I write this rather lengthily entry). A commodity that is free to purchase as I settle back at the patio of my fallback healing place, namely this Starbucks, corner of Fallbrook and Victory. For here, and unexpectedly, I commune with past “Strangers…” now “Friends” as we again resume our dialogues of politics, education and society (365 Day 245 / “The Patio Rats Convene”). Some points we wholly agree on, others we adamantly debate, but in the ends one fact stands strong, I have no idea of who we’ll meet tomorrow and what we will talk about, and my friends, that is way OK with me.

Operation-365… we were once “Strangers…” now we are “Friends.”

See you tomorrow,