this article is an interesting take on the growing human incapacity for spending time alone and more importantly, for using technology in public places as a means of repressing the uncomfortable feeling of being a loser simply because one isn't surrounded by mates.
"But my unease sprang from my inability to convey that to the strangers around me. Honest, I'm not a loner. I had to learn to deal with the discomfort. Sometimes, it would force me to strike up conversations with strangers or be receptive when they engaged me. Other times, I would just sit alone and read or think. The discomfort never went away entirely, but it sure receded with practice."
It struck me that lighting up a fag in such instances often alleviates the discomfort he's on about. The Fag as a Friend theory speaks to not being alone, feeling cool, indifferent or simply distracted when alone in public places.
Ironically of course whilst its ok to fuck with a blackberry or mobile phone in public places, unless that public place happens to be outdoors, you're rather screwed for a place to smoke but that's another rant for another day.
Suffice it to say I've observed how pathetic it is to watch your average idiot suffer with finding something to do when sitting or standing alone somewhere and how quickly that fucking mobile phone or blackberry comes out. Check messages, read auld ones, ANYTHING to avoid coming off as Billy No Mates in public.
But it's a sham. They aren't receiving any calls or excitedly having new messages revealed, just underscoring either that they're a loser with no friends or a loser with friends who is so inept that a few moments alone seems incredibly embarassing.
Stand outside and fire up a fag. Read a book. Whatever, but if you can't feel indifferent or comfortable alone in public places even the fag or the book isn't likely to help and more likely than not you ARE the loser you are so desperately attempting to avoid appearing like.
The Tetchy-Feely Poor and Indifferent Rich
Are these social skills going to become more valuable during the growing tide of economic downturn?
"Kraus and Keltner’s study, published in last month’s issue of Psychological Science, shows that individuals who are low on traditional measures of socioeconomic status (SES) (their family earns less than the state’s median income) demonstrate more “engagement cues” in conversations than do their wealthier peers. The authors hypothesized this effect based on the following evolutionary theory:
In nonhuman species, the ability to assess resource displays accurately leads to preferred mating opportunities and the avoidance of costly, aggressive encounters in negotiations of status. In humans, nonverbal displays of the capacity to provide resources are likely to be important in mate selection, as well as in group members’ attempts to identify individuals suitable for positions of leadership.
In other words, the rich can afford to be relatively aloof in their conversational exchanges. However, those of us whose net worth is in negative equity tend to be more attentive communicative partners, since we have more to gain by being liked. With resources aplenty, powerful people are less dependent on others, and this translates to their being more disengaged in everyday social interactions."
Or maybe the rich are just a little more selective about social interaction for fear of being seen with less desirable people. What have the poor got to lose? New contacts could lead to new horizons, an uplift in social status. The non-poor, on the other hand, have appearances to uphold. What banker wants to be delayed on a street corner exchanging niceties with social pariah and risk being swept up into the loser net?
Gorky Aguila, Cuban Punk