This feels very weird. I’m writing on a netbook from a hotspot in a Starbucks in Renton (that’s south of Seattle). It is noisy in here, and 80% of those present here have their faces buried in computers. This isn’t a coffee shop; it just looks like one.
It feels so Seattle. It’s even cloudy outside, with rain threatening. Air’s humid, though it’s not cooking hot. And not a single person in this Internet terminal that happens to serve coffee would voluntarily have a conversation with any other person, unless they met here on purpose.
This is what I do not like about cities. I understand wanting to have one’s bubble of not dealing with random people; I really do. But if you look at this situation right now, this place of ass-numbing hardwood chairs and crappy music, it is all just a container of bubbles. There is another human being three feet from me on the right, and if I tried to have a conversation with him, I would absolutely shatter all the social rules. I would be marked as fundamentally odd, probably dangerous, and quite irritating.
Technology may be connecting us with people far away, but it is isolating us from people who are close enough they could grab each other’s junk without leaning.