Friday, August 15, 2008

Disconnected

To further my theory of how disconnected our society has been, I'd like to present an observation that I feel not only shows just that, but how selfish and self-centered we've become.
I've noticed that the polite conversation starter, "How are you?" or even the more casual, "How's it going?" has become nothing but a mere greeting. Too many times have I witnessed a "Hey, how's it going?" volleyed back with another "How's it going?" and ended with the two passerbys moving forward along their paths.
It's even promoting poor use of the English language amongst secondary English speakers. My apartment building's security guard, Gus, is my prime example for this. Gus is a really nice guy, maybe in his late thirties or forties who knows maybe enough broken English to get by - maybe. Every night, he'll greet me with a quick "How-are-yoou!", a happy nod and grin with a raised left hand. Great guy - only problem is, if I ask him how he's doing, he'll only cheerfully reply, "How-are-yoou!"

I feel that the root of this "How are you?" problem may be the now common oversight of taking the time to actually take an interest in one another. Perhaps people just don't care. Or maybe it's because we've grown so desensitized to human interaction, so used to communicating through technologically convenient means that we've grown to be repetitive and almost robotic with strangers or light acquaintances on the street.

We've only grown so egotistical and arrogant with our networking sites and online social forums that we've cut the connection to our everyday encounters. Are we all just depending on our carefully picked, photoshopped pictures that we feel best sell ourselves to gain compliments and reassurance? Or maybe our strong, opinionated voices online? The ones which crack down with harsh criticism onto strangers at the first opportune moment, only to reward ourselves with the idea of being smarter or above them?
We can parade ourselves like this with our fa├žade.coms, but can't take the interest to ask someone - really ask someone..."How are you doing?"
They might not even be formalities anymore; rather, deterrents in the form of a mouthful of words to avoid the risk of making ourselves vulnerable to others, the fear of actually letting people get closer to us than the mere gazes we selfishly deliver from a distance.
Who would've known that rubbing shoulders with someone could grow to be so intimidating?