Lindsey — cousin, best friend, kindred spirit— and I sprawled out on the floor of a 300 sq. ft. apartment in Chicago, giggling affectionately throughout the entirety of a late snowy evening. I wanted to touch on this topic because, alongside the clear benefits that unplugging may do to our productivity and observation, it also has an interesting connection to the thrills of the heart. If you take anything away, take this: be present.
Nicky: So, this is how it goes for me — every morning, I walk out of my apartment, put headphones in and hit play. What I listen to puts me in that lovesome daze I oh-so look forward to. I unplug from the mindless scrolling on my phone and just let the music fuel me. A lot of things happen then; dreams, ideas, humor and the possibility of love.
Lindsey: Music is a huge proponent. Half of my inspiration comes from that! Picturing everything in slow motion.
N: Walking towards the platform or bus stop and your steps are syncing perfectly to the beat.
L: Mm! It’s such a cinematic awesome thing! I really missed that when I was in LA. In LA, you’re just sitting in a car where nothing can happen. You’re too busy concentrating on the road. And blasting music in a car is not quite the same as listening to it in your headphones and all of this life happening around you, being able to observe. I’ve missed people-watching so much.
N: Yes! That seemingly mundane daily routine and commute can be so fascinating if you let it. It’s better than coffee — being able to wake up like that. Walk out your door, dancing to the bus stop — you’re surrounded by a lot of the same people, but they’re different every time.
L: There’s so much potential and it’s so great because on public transportation, everything is either absolutely perfect or absolutely terrible depending on how you look at it. These people are all strangers, but you can fall in love with every single one of them. You know when someone hops on the bus, they look backward scanning to find a seat and then you happen to make eye contact with that person within an instant and…
N: Chills! Ahh!
L: Yes! And that feeling of just ‘Damn! This person just has so much intensity!’ When, really, maybe they don’t. They just captivate you.
N: Every now and then I’ll kick myself in the ass for not saying anything to this one guy I used to see regularly on the bus. I relied on the idea that somehow the universe had to align, because — god! — That smile, and the way he held his briefcase was absolutely something so fucking out of this world. I was weak. Melting. You name it. I was adoring this stranger from afar.
L: And it’s so good that perhaps it’s better than finding out the truth about this person. Like, maybe they have a girlfriend or a weird habit. It’s way better in your mind sometimes. It’s those little playful scenarios that happen that are just as cool. I may never know the truth about this person, but it’s still so cool.
N: I think it is exactly that — those playful moments that — Ahh! — What does that do to you? It does so much. And it’s so exciting and so stirring to the heart and mind. And it happens daily! You get this opportunity to experience these moments and some people choose to disregard that.
L: This kind of stuff can happen even walking on the street. My favorite time is when it’s nighttime and snowfall is happening. Not everybody gets this, not everyone understands. Some people get anxious about it — getting on the bus or getting to a destination. I mean, I can be an anxious person, so if I’m not in the right mindset, these things can make me anxious. But if you’re in the right mood, it’s worth it, because it eliminates the ho-hum of the commute.
N: This takes me back to a couple days ago while I was waiting at the bus stop. Something seriously magical happened. I have this absolute favorite song (We Have a Map to The Piano by Múm), from my absolute favorite scene, in my absolute favorite movie, Wicker Park. What happened was this: I got out of work late, walking towards the bus stop alone while the snow fell softly. That song came onto my iTunes shuffle. Every time I hear it, it does something to me. But, with the snow, being in downtown Chicago and looking up at all of the buildings at night, it just… You know what, better than sex is the best way I can describe it. Just the way everything fell together within the — What? — five-minute moment amidst that song. The kind of moment that makes you miss everything, yet euphorically excited for everything to come. The rush in these mere moments is priceless — anything could have happened then.
L: And it’s not just you and me — tons of people feel this way. And some actually find love in these situations, on public transportation. They go so far as to strike up a conversation.
I met my boyfriend on the El! I was just waiting by myself on the platform and John walked up, waiting for the same train. Going north. I always say, thank god I took that northbound train. Cause we met that night. It was the beginning of the semester and he was in need of an editor and we had a mutual friend who had introduced us. We hopped on the train and we started talking about film, classes and stuff, then we had exchanged contact info. And that’s how we met. So naturally, that was really cool. And now we’re in love. And now I’m blushing! Ahh!
N: This must happen more! I think I called you right after this happened — when XX had gotten off at my stop to spark a conversation. I remember it feeling surreal.
L: Ahh yes! I remember this — It was one of those things that you hope happens to you, but never happen to you — UNTIL it happens to you!
N: Yeah! It was last winter, a morning after photographing at the Original Mother’s bar. I was coming into work with this gnarly sized camera bag. As I got off the bus and began walking, this mega-handsome guy approaches me with some kind of comment about the camera bag and we share interests about shooting video and editing and yaddah-yaddah. He had this killer southern accent that could make any girl a bit weak in the knees. I asked him if he worked in the same building as I because he continued to walk in the same direction, but soon found out that he had actually hopped off early to catch me, compliment my smile and grab my number, which delighted me to bits. Turned out to be a really great guy, just not the right time. But, that moment was fascinating.
L: I’ve had a couple people ask me about the book I was reading and it’s so fun to be approached that way. It’s not a creepy thing! We don’t need to put up a front with every single stranger just because they are strangers. Be on guard, but be open to anything. Now it’s all about cyberspace. Not as fun. Not as magical.
L: And we both get that and see how important that time is. And how much we would be losing, how much inspiration we’d be losing if we completely just tuned out every single time on the train. And people do this all the time. We should unplug, that’s when the magic happens.
N: So — big question here: why are these curious, perhaps lovesome, moments of adoration found more so on public transportation rather than at the workplace, et cetera?
L: I think it’s because, at work, its familiar. They are no longer strangers. It’s no longer this perfect, mysterious thing. Strangers can be so fleeting.