Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Good morning, Sunshine.

One of the things that strikes me, strikes me especially on days like today, when the air is warm, the sky is clear and even over the roar of the hundreds of construction cranes that dot Manhattan and the thousands of jack-hammers that tear it apart, you can hear the sparrows chirping, one of the things that strikes me is how much humanity we lose keeping our focus on the two-inches of touch-sensitive glass that seems ever-present before our eyes.

Thoreau, of course, wrote, "Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."

I wonder if we, in fact, are living lives of quiet digitation and go to the grave looking for the next song on Pandora.

The four women I shared a cab with barely looked up from their devices--on this, one of the most beautiful days of the year. They were in their cellular cocoons, texting friends, reading trends. There wasn't a hello among the bunch, or even a sideways look out the window to skipping school kids, burly construction workers and already-harried business men.

I jumped out early, at 77th and Central Park West, over two-miles from my office, and walked a meandering path to work. Down Columbus, over to Amsterdam, and then over to West End, which turns into 11th at 57th Street.

Probably no one anymore knows that 11th Avenue long ago was called 'Death Alley.' That now-buried train-tracks running beneath the road used to be at grade, roaring at high-speed up and down the avenue along with cars, trucks and thousands of longshoreman working the nearby piers. 

That's all gone now. Probably for good.

What's not good is that we seem no longer present in our world. We are lost in our screens. Deafened by the beeps and buzzes and chimes that pin-prick us constantly. Mired in endless powerpoints that are like a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Ah. I'll stop now.

And maybe go listen to some faraway sparrows.

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