11:17 am: Societies Wrongs
A man and woman sit in benches across from each other in an airport terminal. Both far from home. Although they are not entirely sure what to talk about, nervous, they began to talk.
Naturally, they began talking about the weather. Why does it rain so much? Why does the sun never shine as much as we want it? Truthfully, they don’t really care to know what the weather will, but it’s a safe conversation.
Humor was the second subject, in which they quickly admire while exchanging a few less than perfect jokes about politics.
Several minutes passed by and laughter had broken the ice. Together they established that they have an interest in reading. Evidence being they both have a ratty old book tucked under their arms. This prompted them to converse about their favorite authors, genres, and periods of time for literature. Poetry, she said and historical fiction the gentleman revealed.
Even friendly territories were on the horizon. But something unexpected happened. The conversation stopped. The woman’s eyes gravitated to her pocket and revealed a device of sorts. It read 11:00 am in a luminous white font.
The man paused in mid-sentence, deciding to rest for a brief breath, but the woman did not return to the conversation. She remained transfixed on her device.
After some time patiently waiting for the attention of the woman to return, the man looked around the terminal to see that he might have been the only one who was interested in engaging in a real conversation.
There was a café just down the stretch where the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans lured in its targets. One by one, people stopped by and ordered what he would assume to be either a dark chocolate mocha or perhaps a chai latte. (He believed that was the trend these days).
Once they received their coffees, these targets sat down. Alone. Consensus contemplates sitting alone to be somewhat nerve-racking. It often makes him nauseous, to say the least. Fortunately for them, their luminous devices would rescue them. Their worries and fears were to be stripped away.
In unison, they pulled out their preferred medium and connected with those that were thousands of miles away. Communicating with those that they’ve never met. Sometimes even to read what others were currently doing in their lives as if to bring some kind of significance to their own.
The man viewed this occurrence as the tentacles of these luminous devices tangled themselves tighter around their readers’ heads.
In utter shock, the man turned his head back to the woman in front of him feeling out of order.
He continued his conversation in hopes to spark it once more. He asked if she had read a particular set of poems to which there is no reply. Quickly thinking that he had lost her, he asks what their point of view on the increase of online books was. This didn’t receive a response either. With one final hope, he asked where they are headed off to and that too received nothing. Not even a glance up from her eyes.
The man glanced around one more time revealing that no one was communicating. He was depressed with his failure and proceeded to remain hushed.
Finally, the man stood up to say his farewells as his plane had been called for boarding.
He’s headed off to Rome for a holiday to start the novel that he has been putting off for far too long. Politely, he wished the woman a safe flight receiving no reply.
“It was a pleasure to meet you,” he said. Silence remained.
As the man strolled away, he finally understood what had occurred. People had altered from the last time he encountered them. They were always inattentive.
That woman’s mind was submerged deeply into another medium. One in which he wasn’t welcome. One in which he was never to be welcome.
An opportunity for a real face-to-face connection was missed.
It had only been moments later when the woman’s eyes looked up to continue the conversation that she noticed the man had vanished. Confused she checked her watch. The time read 11:17 am.
Seventeen minutes had passed.