The other day, having finished auditioning for an upcoming series, I layered back up and made my way to the elevator, where another candidate was (still) waiting. It wasn't too long before it showed up, and we got on and proceeded to descend to the Lobby. On the way down, four more people got on board and the most peculiar event occurred: SILENCE. An elevator of six people - two pair of those people having shared common experiences, be it an audition or a work shift - and nobody said a word. I noticed, too, that everyone (but me) was on his/her cell phone; texting, browsing, playing. Needless to say, I was astonished.
I may come across as an old man for saying what I am about to say, but I am going to say it: I remember a time when people on the elevator at least had books, newspapers or even casual elevator-friendly chit-chat, while waiting to land on their floor. Where have those moments gone? It absolutely amazes me that while technology has pushed us so far forward, it has also severely crippled our natural, social capabilities. Perhaps I am making an enormity out of something so minuscule, but I could not help but stand there and gawk like a spectator watching a street fight. And as much as I wanted to say something, clever or otherwise, I was literally amazed to the point of speechlessness. One elevator with a handful of folks, only half an arm-s length away, physically, but eons away, socially.
That moment made me wonder about our patterns of communication and connectivity among one another. We can reach out and converse with people on the other side of the world, yes; but what of the ties we have right here at home? Countless times, I have witnessed friends and family at the dinner table one-foot-in-one-foot-out of the "conversation" checking their phones what have you. Now, I will admit that I am sometimes guilty of this same distraction - no one is exempt - and it drives me mad when I catch myself, just the same. I find myself taking sabbaticals away from social media, or keeping my phone on silent, throughout the day, just to avoid the temptation of jumping to a tone. Crazy, right? Am I the only one...? I doubt it. Of course, it isn't a problem so long as the essence of human-to-human communications on a organic level has not been lost. I dare not use this as a platform to point fingers or judge; I am simply sharing my thought process, while witnessing a moment in time. Now if you'll excuse me, I do believe an email buzzed in just now. Until soon...
#SmithDonnellE #OnMyMind #2016
Donnell E. Smith