I made my way to the bus station after rehearsal one evening.
I tuned my Spotify to something brainless and walked slowly on the sidewalk as I saw a car hastily park right in front of me. An infuriated girl stomped out and slammed the door. She raised a middle finger through the passenger seat window and sped walked as the car accelerated–I couldn’t tell who disappeared faster. She was wearing heels.
It took me a moment to make sure they weren’t filming or I was delusional, imagining a scene from a cheesy drama. Baffled, I made it safe to the bus stop without seeing more dramatic action.
I hopped onto the cramped bus and the only seat left was the boss seat, aka the very middle seat at the very back of the bus where no one wants to sit because you’ll probably fly out but if you do sit there you pretty much look like the boss of the bus. My feet was hurting so I locked onto my prey and sped toward the seat without hesitation–until the last moment.
I saw two teenagers sitting on either side of the boss seat, chatting away cheerfully. My brain did a quick calculation of the awkward meter then ruled it lower than my feet pain-o-meter. I parted the googly eye contact of two teens.
It also crossed my mind that if these two really liked each other’s company, then they would proceed to move, not have some stranger come between them. Plus, if they really wanted to talk, they could do it across my face, I couldn’t care less.
But none of these analyses took place. Their smiles faded. It was as if they planned their conversation to end exactly as I sat down. Their googlies transferred onto their smartphones. It was as if I pressed mute.
I’m not saying that it was my fault that these two kids stopped interacting. I don’t feel responsible. Nor am I saying that staring at one’s phone is a crime. I, too, am a phone starer once I’m on the bus.
Maybe I was expecting the boy to stop me for a second to move to the seat next to her. Maybe I really wanted to see two teenagers having an innocent chat on public transportation. Maybe I wasn’t expecting two disconnections in one night.
There’s this really old soul in me that believes smartphones should be banned when you’re hanging out with someone. And then there’s this “always talk it out” corner in my brain that speaks louder even if my heart says no. Perhaps that old soul and that little corner became really offended at all these weird scenes happening around.
I had a long day, I was probably really tired. I’ll just stop analyzing everything next time.
At least the girl waved a sincere goodbye to the boy as she got off at her stop.