Yesterday, while on my commute home, I approached a crowded train platform and saw something not usually found on a crowded train platform--several EMT workers and a person in need of help.
Usually, when I descend the steps and enter the world of other non-drivers, everyone is engaged in their own thing. Most have their noses stuck in their phones (something I'm guilty of doing on occasion...). Since we're an orderly folk, those who arrived first stand where the bus doors will end up when the train stops. Those who came after line up behind them. Sometimes a lone conversation between those who know each other springs up, but mostly we keep to ourselves, swept up in what concerns only ourselves.
It's the way of things.
But yesterday, a person had collapsed on the platform and several first responders were attending to her. And for perhaps the first time ever, I saw almost everyone looking in their direction. Just to the right of this picture the platform slopes down and face after face stood and watched the professionals do their job. To the left, almost everyone else looked on, too.
People complain that our society is withdrawing, becoming more solitary, more alone. Perhaps we are, but I'm sure when smartphones didn't exist, when headphones were not portable, and the only distractions were books, magazines, and newspapers were the only distractions, that people ignored each other pretty much the same way.
But on a cold afternoon on the first day of February, a group of strangers watched as one of their own go the help she needed. In a strange way, it made me feel like we're not so different after all, and when needed, we'll break from our personal cocoons and take an interest in each other.
It's the way of things,