There were 41 passengers on car 3370 travelling inbound towards The Loop. Fully 40 of them either sat or stood, hands down, staring at their smart phones as the city rolled by. I was the only person who remained heads-up, staring at each person in turn as I stood, holding onto the overhead bar. Nobody caught my gaze, however. They simply stared at their devices, their only movements the occasional flick of the thumb. As the train followed the track around a curve, each of the standing swayed in unison, first to the left and then back to the right. They made certain to keep their phones a constant 18 inches from their eyes with a practiced ease.
I turn to stare out the window. I see two kids chasing each other, circling a plastic playground structure, mouths open in screams I can not hear. The train moves on and we pass a raven perched on the ledge of a building. It stares at me, unblinking. The sky, a mix of pink, purple and blue with the setting of the sun, plays in stark contrast to the black of the raven. Somewhere in the distance, the barking of one dog sets the neighboring dogs into a frenzy.
I look back at the 40 smart phone zombies and think to myself, “My god, the outside world really is boring as hell.” I fish my iPhone out of my left pants pocket and swipe it on. With a flick of my thumb, my Twitter app is on and I stand, holding my phone a steady 18 inches from my face as the train makes its way through the city corridor.
Ooo! Wil Wheaton made a pumpkin bisque last night!