Am I Invisible?

By August 27, 2016Musings


Am I Invisible?

I was out shopping the other day, and I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the sheer number of people who were oblivious to those around them: both people and things.  And they were oblivious because they were talking on their phone or texting.

Now I’m not talking about slightly unaware.  I’m talking COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS!

Recently, there was a study done on a college campus in the States where they sent a clown on a unicycle out on campus.  The clown wove in and out of the people walking the campus.

When people were asked after if they’d noticed anything out of the ordinary, those who’d been on cell phones had NO awareness of the unicycling clown: didn’t see him at all.

I experienced this personally while shopping.  People stopped in the middle of aisles, in the entryway of the grocery store, blocking displays…all on their phones or texting away.  Even a polite “excuse me” was completely ignored.

That got me to thinking…are we invisible both in life and in business these days? Are people so consumed by the mobile devices and technology in their hands and held at their ears that they no longer “see” things?

I had to wonder, as these people walked and talked, why they were even in the store.  They weren’t paying any attention to the products on the shelves.  They weren’t paying attention to any of the signage.  They certainly weren’t paying attention to human beings.

So it begs the question: are we invisible?in our person, in our marketing, in our displays and in our increasingly technological world?

What do you think?

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  • As a people-watcher, I find it weird that people would rather be stuck to their devices and sport blank looks as they unifocus. I see people oblivious to beautiful nature around them and feel sad. It might appear that the only way to get their attention would be to become visible on their screen. Talk about the world in the palm of one’s hand. Not a happy situation 🙂 Why, even people out on dates are busy talking or texting on the phone – with someone else.

    Hugs, Kaarina. You do know I adore your writing, don’t you?

    • Thank you so much @vidyasury:disqus: that means the world to me. And when it doesn’t frustrate me to see and experience the oblivious masses, it perplexes me that people choose to be completely unaware of the beauty that surrounds them, and the multitude of things they miss when their heads are down. Plus, I find it downright rude. Sending you love and hugs xo

  • Vishal Bheeroo

    It’s so true and we lose our sense of observation when we are fettered by technology. We become prisoners and it’s a tragedy, I believe. A life half lived and losing the sense of aesthetics!!!

    • I am so with you on that @vishalbheeroo:disqus. To miss out on the wonder of the world around us, and to rudely shut out others in their path I too, find it a tragedy.

  • Other day when I went to park with my Son- I noticed a couple taking a slow walk while the Girl had fixed her eyes on her phone- I was surprised. How could one ignore Nature walk and peek into the screen. Sigh!

    • Many people are missing so much of the world around them when they fixate on their screens. I agree.

  • Alli Polin

    Have to admit, I think we’re all a little invisible… as is the world around us.

    • I think that’s why I enjoy photography so much. It creates the space and time to really see and observe and drink in the beauty that’s all around us @allipolin:disqus

  • I think you are right! I think more and more people are existing in their heads (absorbing something from a screen) and less and less in the world. And I think technology is basically creating an ADD culture. I’m not immune – lots of times I’ll be doing something and that Pavlovian response will kick in and I’ll pick up my phone to check…. something. Email? Facebook? Candy Crush? I have to pay attention to NOT do that. I notice I’ll get bored very easily and gravitate to my phone for…. something! Even in the middle of watching a TV show or eating dinner I need to DO SOMETHING.

    The one time I don’t pick up the phone (which is kind of funny since it’s really everything BUT a phone these days) is when I’m outside. I used to walk in the park by my house and I wouldn’t even put on headphones to listen to music. That’s the best.

    Otherwise it’s just a distraction from the distractions in life.

    Maybe in a few years it’ll be like one of those sci-fi movies where everyone is hooked up to electrodes and lives life in their brains and never gets out of bed. ACK!!

    Note to self: always look for the unicycling clown.

    • ALWAYS look for the unicycling clown…it could be me @carollynnrivera:disqus 😉 I know for sure that this whole technology addiction is generational. At my age, I feel that all this downward-looking-FOMO-obsession is so distasteful to me because I grew up in a time where manners were foremost. Plus, I’m Canadian eh 🙂 There’s a great quote that I think is so true: “Many yearn for immortality but don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy day.”
      There are so many people today who don’t know how to simply “be”. To be in the moment. To be present. To be at peace with doing nothing. To know that we are human beings not human doings. Makes me sad: and sometimes angry. But it also makes me even more committed to knowing: this is the only moment that exists and then poof!…it’s gone.

  • I fancy myself a “people watcher”, Kaarina, so I probably notice more than most. I love to read my fellow human beings — the little nuances in someone’s body language, etc. As a child, one of my favorite people-watching locations was bus stations. I noticed similar patterns of behavior in those who ride the bus. Following my observations, I used to have fun making up stories about their lives. 😉

    Have you been to a restaurant lately? I don’t particularly enjoy eating out and now with the inception of smart phones, I enjoy it even less. Everyone is constantly checking messages — their eyes practically glued to some electronic device. Same thing happens when I’m on line at the bank or super market. UGH.

    Not sure where this trend will lead. To me, it’s akin to an addiction.

    • I fear we’re losing (or have lost) the very basics of civil conversation and good old fashioned manners @melanie_kissell:disqus I love to “people watch” as well, as can be attested by my Songs of a Subway. My little stories there are all based on my observation of people on the train.
      And yes on the restaurant experience. Instead of candles and conversation at the tables, it seems like neon screens and downward craned necks are the soup du jour.
      My real bee-in-my-bonnet is encountering people who, with no regard to anyone else, stand in the middle of an aisle, take up space as if they are the only ones on the planet and talk in a loud voice to whomever is on the cell phone with them…often sharing details that I would say would be best kept private, haha!