Personal Space in a Public Place

9 Feb

And so here I am in a café basement drenched in sterile light.  Everyone sits at their respective tables, their personal pods.  A mess of papers and pens immediately in front of them on the table and then casting its devilish shadow, the laptop, the entire world a foot away.  This history of communication arranged in a perfect timeline right before our eyes.  No one speaks, it almost seems forbidden.  I walked fast here and down the stairs, a bit short on breath but I struggle to keep it composed as to not disrupt the mechanical serenity.   Type, sip, type, sip.  It’s all wildly entertaining as I write about exactly what I have been and am about to become.  I came here to reflect, learn, get out of the house, be to myself in a public place, I came here in need of having it all at once.  Personal public space.  A dose of daily oxymoron.  Let’s go out to be by ourselves.

This is where I go to hide when hiding at home becomes too discouraging.  Let’s throw some oil on the fire by doing the same thing as others all in one place.  I have the attention span of a child to be born in 75 years.  A guy gets up quietly and walks over to a girl and aisle and three tables away, they appear to be good friends, maybe lovers?  There is a seat directly across from her; there is an empty table to her left.  Point proven.  I would’ve bet they we’re strangers until now.  “Okay, I’m going to go back to my table now” he whispers.  “Ok, bye” with a cutesy wave.  He stands up walks about 8 yards and sits back down, split worlds resume.

People are leaving now.  They have noisy coats. Blasphemy.

The beauty of the modern American café is that it can serve as your daily vacation; you can sit on the fence between alone and surrounded.  We like that nowadays, to combine all things into one.  For example:

(Hold on one second, I need to check my e-mail)

Back.  And now she goes to visit him!  Less than thirty seconds has gone by since he took a trip over to her.  For Christ sake!  Do one of two things:  Share a god damned table, or move next to one another, because honestly this game of play neighbor has gotten to be a little too hilarious for the solemn chills floating through this sterile air.  He pulls on her scarf, they exchange words of awkward love and she exits into the other room, oh how much I’ve learned of their relationship in so little time.

They probably met in this café, live in this café, might even die in this café.  That merino wool baby blue sweater from L.L. Bean, the pristine slacks and sleek spectacles, only ever addicted to the internet and coffee, could you give me a whiter, more upper-middle class romance?  The death of me.

But like I was saying before it seems as though us as Americans (slightly altered version of human beings) are trying ever so hard to combine everything into one all of the time.  Are we all secretly obsessive compulsive?  Cleaned up to the point of having no dirt to distinguish one of us from another?  Knowledge is no longer power, because this power is so widely distributed at equal time that it’s no longer someone informing you, it’s essentially just relayed information from whoever got to it first.

The idea of universal consciousness was in fact really cool until the Internet came along and made it more of a reality.  Once a thought or idea has found its way from one mind or mouth into the ether (Ethernet cable anyone?), you start to see it all around you.  You know those instances?  Well of course if you spent any time on the web today you would realize that just like in the real world you are subconsciously drilled with messages from all angles, and just like in the plastic, digital world you are as well.

What is another name for the universal consciousness?


Is the Internet God?  It bears the same qualities as the all powerful, all knowing being that exists outside of humans, but is composed of human matter.  People can run to it in times of need, ignore it when they choose, but if they ever believed than they probably take to it religiously.  Even when your not looking it is still circulating vastly and quickly the every thought, movement of every person who invests in it.

The guy just got up again to go give her a casual kiss and is now retreating back to his station.  Did you ever see Rushmore?  The scene with Jason Schwartzman on the bleachers with his teacher?  Yes exactly like that.  And on that note…


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