I am an avid user of the Subway and most times; I find that people are always in a rush to move around and go about their business from the few minutes I spend on the Train Stop. I am never in any rush to leave the stop. However time is always against me, and hence the opportunity has always eluded me. For this assignment, I took it as an opportunity to live up to the need that had been brewing inside me for the moment.
I used the _______________ Station. I set myself at the left corner of the stop where I could view everyone at the platform. The washrooms were directly opposite, and from this view, all pillars were adjacent to my vision. I could see everyone aside for the people who were standing beside the pillar. As there are many people who frequent the stop, none seemed too bothered by my presence. The Station Guard occasionally came to ask what I was doing there to which I informed him of this being an assignment and that I would be done within the hour.
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Within the first few minutes, I realized that the station is generally cold, with a stiff and “ Miffy ” feel of the air. There is no clear fresh air. However , this did not seem to bother most people. I got in time for the 4pm Train. The station was crowded with people of different races, with most of them in official wear. It seemed most were just coming from the office and were in a hurry to get home. The facial expression of many of them was one that was of fatigue, with several people yawning as they stood at the Platform.
A notable characteristic was that each of these people as they were making their way on the platform to be stationed in a position where they could easily get on the train car, were holding their mobile devices. Each of these people had their mobile in their hands or were using them. From what I could deduce, almost 20% of the people who were on the platform were holding their mobile phones while the other 70% were on the phone . For every 5 people that I saw, 3 of them were on the phone . As I continued to observe them, it seemed that each of them was finishing some business. The phone calls were business related due to the tone, the concentration and the sort of language used during each call. However, this was not true for all the people. Others were comfortably talking to friends and spouses.
There was a gentleman who stood near me, in a bid to get away from the noise generated off of the platform. He was speaking to his spouse as it seemed. He was excited that the day had come to an end and explained that he was about to board the train heading home. For most, these were the sight for those who were speaking to their spouses. Others who were holding their phones seemed to be on social media platforms or were texting. Generally, as people stood at the [platform for the few minutes they were waiting for the train, these were the activities that continued.
As the train arrived and came to a stop, many people had, by that time, gathered their belongings and stood strategically where they would be able to access the doors. As they opened, there was a bit of a hassle between passengers who were coming out of the Train Car and those fighting to get in. For those coming out, there was not much evidence . They simply walked out and headed up the stairs out of the subway. As the train left, within those few minutes before the next train arrived, there was silence and about five people at most on the platform.
It is at this time that I noticed a homeless man seated at the far right of the platform. He was leaning towards the wall next to the exit of the subway station. However , he was asleep. As time went by, he would wake up occasionally, and jingle the cup he was holding to get people to pay attention to him as they exited the platform. As I looked at the people, none seemed to be particularly bothered by him. However, he seemed to be dehydrated and in a trance half the time. He was dressed clothed in what looked like a rain coat and a heavy woolen sweater. He had Safety Boots on his feet and seemed exhausted and in a faraway place. Within that hour sited at the Subway Station, there were only ten people amongst the hundreds who took note of his presence and offered a few coins to spare.
As I sat there, I identified a pattern. As the hour progressed, more people coming from work increased with those coming out of the Train Cars decreased. The people came and strategically placed themselves on the platform, browsed on the phone for a few minutes while they waited for the train to arrive. The arrival of the train is what made them jump from their technological stupor and spring to action, gathering their thoughts and luggage for the few who had. There was little interaction between the people if they had not prior come together. They took no notice of each other and saw each other as pillars, walking around each other. This is the most unsocial setting I have ever witnessed, where not a single greeting is exchanged. Not a glance or any sort of Acknowledgement is made, aside for the people who come together.
From my observation, it has become more evident and clear of the role technology has had in our lives. It has had a massive impact rendering people mute to the environment and each other. For people to walk avoiding each other and not concerning themselves with the environment or each other for that moment.