December 13th, 2007

Little Big World

Occasionally I de-pod in transit, put down my reading and tune into the world around me. Usually that world consists of cellphone conversations between my fellow TTCers and people who aren’t in the world around me.What can you do, ours is a “virtual” culture. Still, it never fails to amaze me how freely people will discourse cellularly, at much higher volumes than they’d ever have a conversation in person. I’ve heard people talk about what they’ve stolen, about fistfights at work, abortions, alcoholism, violent relationships, and trips to the food bank. I guess when people raise their voices talking about this stuff, they aren’t really thinking about privacy; they have bigger problems. Joy can wait until they disembark, I guess, since I rarely overhear the job acceptances, happy birthdays, just-called-to-say-I-love-yous.

The other morning, I found myself eavesdropping on the fellow behind me, though I could not understand him. He was talking on his cellphone in Hindi at 8 in the morning, but with such intensity that I felt I was following the rise and fall of the covnersation . Though there was heated emotion in his voice, he was speaking in long, reasoned-sounding sentences, and I couldn’t tell if it was a business or personal conversation. Then, appropos of what I don’t know, he said a sentence in English: “It’s not a routine, I call you every day because I *want* to talk to you.” Almost a thesis statement really, outlining almost everything else that had been spoken and would be so far.

He went back into Hindi after that, but I felt that understood the rest of the conversation perfectly, even before he gave another couple subject-lines in English a few minutes later. When he got off the bus, he passed my seat and I of course turned to see what he looked like–a college student with an enormous backback, sneakers tied by their laces hooked onto it. He was still talking, somewhat miserably. I don’t think he was convincing whoever it was on the other end.

The man next to me visibly craned his neck to see the speaker’s face. I smiled at my fellow voyeur and he somewhat awkwardly looked down into his lap, confused at my attention maybe, or startled at being caught out. Me, I felt sad for us all, but strangely happy to be a part of this bizarrely connected world.

He came to inspection / before me in sections
RR

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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