It’s Saturday evening in New York City. Everyone’s faces are dropping a bit.
Heads bowed down. Slower walking. Faster pace.
In moments to pause, we are not looking at each other, we are looking down – checking Facebook Status or posting a Tweet to someone out there with a profile image and, we hope, something to say back.
In front of me, a man is playing with those two sticks used to juggle. He’s spinning them around and around. Nobody is watching. Over his ears, perhaps to play music but perhaps to keep himself warm, are a pair of old headphones with the softness that was supposed to separate the skin from the noise.
He doesn’t have his hat taken off to accept money. Just doing his thing.
A young boy and his mother sit next to me waiting for the train – Mom leans over and takes a look to see how much longer she has to wait, then down at her cell even though she knows there’s no reception going on down there.
The young boy notices the stick juggler and starts screaming “Wow”. It’s the first WOW anyone down there has heard in quite sometime. You can tell everyone wants to see what the WOW is. The young boy is into it, calling out to the Juggler to do more. To spin faster. To go in a circle.
“How long did it take you to learn that,” the young boy asks.
The juggler looks at the mom first, then at the boy. Taking one of the earpieces off, he responds.
“You just have to practice over and over again.”
The mother smiles, but you can tell she’s not into the wow. No.
“I want to be a juggler when I grow up,” the little boy says. “Can I try?”
Again, the juggler looks at the mom – This time, she shakes her head know. The juggler shrugs and continues on with his sticks. A small crowd has gathered now – not just to watch the juggler, but to watch the young boy and his amazement at something we all see everyday but pay no attention to.
The train is coming. Mom grabs the boy’s hand and they disappear into the opening doors. The juggling continues. Without the boy screaming wow, the crowd things. Sticks still continue to to twirl.
There was a moment there when most everyone standing around started to wonder what they were looking at when they walked down the streets. How was their life being lived? It was the eyes of a child that let us all know that what is most entertaining, what brings us the most joy, is thrown away in a thought that we are just wasting our time. That we are trying to reinforce the definitions of ourselves that we mask for others to accept us as.
Back to the phones and the status updates. Digital connections that last moments but create the need for more. More interaction but without the substance of true meaning.
Is this social networking and creation of constructed and carefully planned communication robbing us all of that WOW moment in life? The WOW moment is the realization of what is happening. Regardless of the wonder or horror of that moment, it is still a realization.
Perhaps that is being taken away from us – the ability to realize that something, something outside of ourselves is taking over the moment. It’s not how it relates to us personally or how we are tagged in a picture. Those distractions are taking us away from the world.
Where then is it taking us?