Don’t just step on floor tiles, appreciate them

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Ryan Orloski

 

I think it’s important that every once in a while we take some time to think about sidewalks and floor tiles. I think they’re widely underappreciated in this modernized society.

It’s not as crazy of a suggestion as it sounds, I assure you. There are millions of ways to keep yourself occupied even with something as simple as a sidewalk crack or an individual floor tile. Have you ever noticed how that one tile is abnormally colored compared to the rest? For the love of everything good, stare at it!

Think of how many times you’ve had to walk to class and face the terrible possibility of looking someone in the eye. Think of how many times you’ve sat in the Dugout after you’ve flicked through all the action on Twitter, Facebook, reddit and Pinterest, with no newspaper to pour over or book to read.

What happens when someone wants to strike up a conversation? What do you do in this perilous situation? My first time, I broke out in a cold sweat. I felt my hand reach towards my pocket, but I had peanut butter and jelly all over my fingers from lunch, so I was unable to draw my iOS 7-powered weapon. I felt the walls closing in.

Well, that’s where floor tiles come in. Have you ever noticed how many floor tiles there are in a given space? Have you ever tried tracing various patterns with your eyes or skipping over a certain number as you walk? No? Remember how I said that floor tiles are widely underappreciated?  I think this is the perfect example.

Additionally, think of how many times you’ve been on the walk to class and you don’t have any text messages to respond to? If you’re in this position, I have nothing but sympathy for you. What are you supposed to do? Take in the campus scenery? Even worse, meet someone’s eye and partake in a  conversation? Your options appear to be pretty grim here.

Cue the heroic theme song. The sidewalk is there to save the day. Ever notice that fissure that seems to go on forever? Fascinating. Or notice the one sidewalk square that’s abnormally shorter than the rest?

How about the lines separating them that go in all sorts of directions? Remember, stepping on a crack is scientifically proven to cause irreversible damage to your poor old mother’s back, so you’d best keep your eyes glued downwards—certainly nowhere where you’d meet someone’s gaze.

Other people are scary, and you know what? They want you to step on a crack so you cause unspeakable pain to your dear mother. So instead of engaging in meaningful, memorable conversation with a fellow human being, pretend like they are some artificial entity who doesn’t deserve your attention.

Other people don’t have interests and emotions, nor do they have aspirations. They’re simply objects in your way and you should treat them as such. If you look them in the eye, you might get the chance to make a new friend, share a healthy laugh and grab dinner some time. Surely, no one reading this wants to express any common courtesy towards a fellow human being, right?

In today’s technology-infused day and age, we’ve made it a point to avoid common social interaction. I think it’s safe to say we consider it a finely-honed skill to successfully navigate around a face-to-face conversation, using technology as a portal into a world that’s safe and doesn’t require emotional investment. But we forget the simple technique of looking down and away.