I usually love traveling by public transportation. I can do whatever I want, I don’t have to drive, have some time for myself and usually am not stuck in traffic. However, over the past few years I hear some people complaining about how public transportation is not personal anymore. Everybody stares at their own phone etc. I think this is a really positive thing in terms of intentions. Today I want to explain why. Here’s why I think staring at your phone in public transportation is a good thing.
The Old Days
It’s really about nostalgia, the complaining. And it’s something especially people from the generation before me do. They say public transportation has become impersonal. People don’t talk to each other anymore, don’t greet each other, people don’t read a book anymore (which is not true actually), people don’t even look at the window anymore. It’s all phones. That’s the complaint. People only stare at their phone when they travel by public transportation. They focus on their-self and not on other people. It’s different from the old days they say.
I think people focussing on their-self in public transportation is a good thing. It’s time efficient for yourself. We live in a society where we work a lot and have a lot to do in general. It’s good to be time-efficient. That’s why I would also prefer going to my work by public transportation than by car. Spending time in a car is just a waste of time. You are staring at concrete and can’t do much more. In the train you have time to do things for yourself. You can do some things for work, a hobby, scroll through social media, check your e-mail, read a book, study for something. The list is endless.
Doing these things in the time you spend in the train or bus, means that you’ll have more free time at home or with your loved ones. So yes, I find it a good thing that people constantly stare at their phone in public transportation. If they do it there, they probably won’t do it at home. At home they have time and attention for family, dinner and other things with intention. It would be a shame to spend 1 hour in the train talking to a stranger because it’s ‘normal’ and then staring at your phone (or anything else you like you to do in public transportation, whatever that may be) when you’re home and ignore your family.
I think it’s a personal thing. Maybe there are people who do enjoy talking to strangers they probably will never see again. I personally don’t. I spend my time working through my e-mail or writing a blogpost (which I am literally doing in the train today). And I am not sorry about this. This way I have time for my boyfriend or parents when I get home. I choose whoever I spend my time with. And so I think the nostalgia of people saying ‘people used to talk to each other back in the days in public transportation’ is wrong. Not everybody likes that. So, if it makes you a better mother, father, partner, friend, please stare at your phone in public transportation.